Posted by: whatrosewrites | July 19, 2010

Child care: The Reality

The other day, I read an article in Canadian Today’s Parent magazine (April 2010) titled, “Are you paying too much for child care?” authored by John Hoffman. Since I was borrowing the magazine (it belonged to an indoor playground that my 6 year-old daughter and I frequent), I took down a few notes. Although the author writes he “wants to compare apples to apples” and the survey (at the end of the article) states the data is based on a survey of 840 parents (all members of Today’s Parent community and not the Canadian general population) I felt that there were a few glaring omissions and perhaps falsehoods.

It is widely known that Quebec has the most affordable child care in the country. Licensed spaces amount to a bit over $7.00 a day. So, it was exempt from the study and all other provinces were deemed comparable. In Ontario, the article states, over 72% pay more for childcare than the Atlantic provinces. We are not comparing apples to apples here. The Atlantic provinces rely on seasonal industries (such as fishing) and salaries are much lower, on average, than in Ontario. To be fair, you’d need to state it as a percentage of income that was spent on daycare.

Martha Friendly, director of the Toronto-based Childcare Resource and Research Unit estimates that 75-90% of licensed daycare expenses are wages and benefits. And Petr Varmuza, director of operational effectiveness for the Children’s Services department of the City of Toronto, was stated (in this article) as saying, “Some fully qualified Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) in Toronto centres are paid as much as $26 an hour, while others, with the same qualifications, are paid as little as $16 an hour.” I am shocked that anyone who spends three years in college, now requiring certification, is cited in such a manner. All of the ECEs that I am aware of make $11 – $14 an hour..with NO benefits. Can you blame them for looking for unionized or school board jobs?…who wouldn’t? I’d challenge anyone who thinks working with children 0 – 6 years of age is easy to try it for JUST ONE DAY.

Not surprisingly, the survey found 80% of respondents wanted more help from provincial and federal governments to make child care more affordable for the average family. Part-time child care also seems to be desired by 29 – 39% of parents. A Nova Scotia parent was quoted (and I agree), “I feel the kids would be better taken care of if the facility were able to pay employees competitive wages.” The glaring omission in this article is input from the experts, the ECEs themselves. I think your study data needs updating and expert opinions.

Please, any ECEs (Early Childhood Educators) care to comment, feel free to use my website. Many parents are deeply grateful for the work you do. On a personal note, whenever I hire an ECE to babysit, I pay them $20 an hour…they deserve at least this, in my opinion.

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Responses

  1. Thank you Rose for your thoughtful and powerful article on What the majority of ECEs are subjected to.

    Yes! some ECEs may make over $16/hour, they are the exception, the majority of ECEs are in a much lower pay bracket.

    I love my job because i know that i am helping our future generation become strong, loving and caring citizens.

    I just wish the pay would reflect how much of my heart and soul goes into this career.

    Thanking you again for all your support,

    Love Susana

  2. Thank you for responding. When I googled “salary for ECEs in Canada” plenty of sources cited between $9.00 and $16.55 an hour, across Canada, in 2009. The odd “supervisor” or “staff leader” may make more, but strictly speaking ECEs and Assistants earn a very low income. When I read the quote, “paying staff was the majority of the costs” (to run a licensed daycare)..the slant bothered me. It sounded like “Oh the staff and their benefits are why child care costs are so high.” Seriously, truth be known here, staff are underpaid. Even if the majority of costs ARE for salaries…isn’t that what we want? Children between 0 – 6 years of age need competent, qualified care givers the most. They don’t care that much about material things. In fact, in some cultures teachers are considered more sacred than parents.


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