A Vancouver family with four-year-old twins has already shelled out thousands in childcare costs – and the kids haven’t even started daycare yet.
Rory Richards’ third child is just days away from being born. As the family prepares for the baby’s arrival, there is one thing on their list that hasn’t been done -- finding childcare for their other two children.
“This just exacerbated the situation, but our plight for childcare has pretty much been going on for several years,” Richards told CTV News Vancouver.
The family lives in downtown Vancouver but has made dozens of inquiries to daycares all over the region.
But the options have not been affordable. They’ve been quoted $4,800 a month for the twins.
They also say they’ve spent close to $3,000 in fees just to have the twins put on waitlists.
“To charge parents $150 to $250 to $300 to get on a waiting list, to review an application – and in the case of a parent that has twins, charging that twice -- that just seems predatory to me,” she said.
To bring relief to thousands of B.C. families like Richards’, the province has expanded its $10-per-day childcare spots from 2,500 to 6,500 this spring.
It has a goal of increasing that number to 12,500 by the end of the year, thanks to a partnership with the federal government.
“We need to continue to work together. We have a long way to go to make sure everyone in B.C. can access $10 a day and affordable, inclusive childcare,” said Minister of State for Childcare Katrina Chen Friday.
However, Opposition Critic Karin Kirkpatrick is doubtful the province can meet its goal before 2023.
“This government's got a commitment to have 12,500 $10-a-day spaces in seven months from now, and they've only created 6,500 in over half a decade of the initial promises in 2017. I don't see a roadmap for how they're going to be able to do it,” she said.
Kirkpatrick said British Columbians are facing a childcare crisis.
“There's 128,000 spaces already filled. There's 175,000 People still looking for childcare. So whether that space is $10-a-day or that space is free, the issue is we need the space,” she said.
But Chen maintained there are efforts underway to create more spaces, and touted the progess made so far.
“We're going to continue to do that to expand affordable childcare to more families in the coming years. And we have been accelerating recreational spaces and so far, we funded and supported the creation of over 26,000 spaces and that is the fastest space creation in B.C.’s history,” she said.
Richards said she appreciates the province is making an effort, she would like to see more affordable spaces created more quickly.
“I have to give them credit for what they are doing. Is it happening fast enough? No. We need faster, more rapid implementation of $10 a day. It's the only relief that's going to help busy families and we need that to happen sooner – we need more spaces,” she said.
The province says it has invested $2.7 billion in child care programs and that there are also fee reductions and child care benefits available for B.C. parents. The 2022 budget promised to reduce fees for full-day infant and toddler care by 50 per cent by the end of the year.