I have a young family. We have a reasonable mortgage ($900)… I have a good, full-time job that I commute to everyday (200km return, about 2.5 hours everyday).
We don’t spend extravagantly, we have a cat. We have some debt, mostly from pre-baby renovations, and a car loan, but it’s being managed.
My wife has been on maternity for almost a year now… soon, that will end, and she will either have to go back to her job at a Big Box retailer where she earns maybe $700-$800 a month, or go to school, or stay home.
She doesn’t want to work there forever, she’d rather get into something with a future. So instead of going back to work, she’s going to College to upgrade and then enter into a 2 year program that will then either place her into work at the end, or she can continue and get her Bachelors, with the same work placement at the end of that.
But what do we do with our young child in the meantime? My wife will be at school fulltime, so my child will have to be in daycare… somewhere.
For how much? Going rate is $800+ a month in many places… that’s nearly another mortgage!
My wife is trying to become a highly skilled worker so that she can contribute more to our family and to society and our community in general. But if she goes to school full time, and thus can’t work… then how do we pay for daycare for the baby?
It’s not like I don’t have an excellent, full-time, full-benefits job. I do. Most people would be quite happy in my position, especially since I’ve only been in the regular workforce for 5 years now. But yet if we have to somehow come up with $600-800 for daycare… frankly, I odn’t know how we can do it. Especially considering we’ll need to insure a 2nd car for her to get to school and potentially drive the baby to daycare and back.
So why am I telling you this?
Well, there has been talk for over 10 years now of a new National Daycare system. Similar to the healthcare system where the Federal Government provides money to the Provinces to provide daycare services to anyone who needs them and, presumably, and a significantly lower rate than current private business.
In my view, this is essential if we want our economy to continue to grow and our society to prosper. Gone are the days when the Man of the Household can support his wife and family at home. Not only are those ideas passed, but the reality is that the cost of living is simply too high to do it. Both parents *must work* in order for a family to have an acceptable standard of living.
That means that daycare will become an essential part of every families evolution.
StatsCan just published in their “Daily” some stats on Daycare usage in Canada.
Between 1994 and 2001, the percentage of Canadians using Daycare has risen steadily, from 42% to 52%.
It’s obvious this trend will continue.
In Quebec, which is the only province with a daycare system… 61% of people used daycare in 2001.
It is also clear in these statistics that single parents absolutely rely on daycare in order to provide for their families and better themselves. Without it… they’d be sunk.
In 2000/01, 85% of children aged six months to five years who lived with a single parent who worked or studied were in some form of child care. This was a significant increase from 78% in 1994/95.
So why do we need a National daycare system? Simple. To drive costs down and provide equal services to all. In Quebec, the cost is $7/day for your child to be in a provincially run daycare centre and they have been recognized as having some of the best trained and well staffed centers in Canada.
$7/day… for us, we’d probably use it at least 3 days a week… that’s about $85/month.
That’s a helluva lot more manageable than $600-$800… plus I know that my child is getting quality care from accredited centers.
I might have to pay more taxes for this system… yes. But again, that’s a lot cheaper for me than $800 a month. Plus for those without children who are asking “why am I paying others to have kids” they can rest assured that instead of being trapped at home caring for children and receiving even more government subsidies, in the form of childcare benefits, welfare, and EI, those mothers and fathers are at work, or at school, providing for their family and educating themselves so that they can be productive, tax paying, members of society.
And that will ensure that those children are given the best chance of becoming productive and successful themselves.
And that, in the end, is what matters.