Best plan for child-care needs leaves no profit margin

Mab Oloman, Vancouver Sun

Re: For-profit firm plans seven centres in B.C., Aug. 8

Leslie Wulf says Edleun, a private child-care business, charges market fees, and his employees are paid market wages. That is the problem.

Ask parents of young children and they will tell you that market fees are too high, out of reach for many. Ask early childhood educators and assistants whose wages in B.C. average $16.46 an hour according to BC Stats, significantly below the average hourly wage in B.C. of $22.93.

Because of reliance on the “market” the provision of early care and learning services in Canada ranks last among OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.

The plan proposed by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates and the Early Childhood Educators of BC suggests an alternative that would better serve children, families, and the economy.

However, it would not be in the interest of publicly listed child-care providers like Edleun.

These companies have a responsibility to provide a growing return to shareholders.

This means they must reduce the cost of providing services (wages), increase the income received from the service (parent fees), grow the corporation through acquisition of real estate, or do all three.

While business decisions that drive publicly listed companies are appropriate for many commodity markets, they are not acceptable when children are the commodity.