Child-care fee hikes hit Vancouver parents

Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight

It looks like there is zero relief in sight for stressed-out Vancouver parents who are being asked to pay up to $1,915 in monthly fees by a commercial child-care chain.

Victoria Sopik, cofounder and CEO of the Toronto-based Kids & Company, is coming to town on April 18 to meet parents of infants and toddlers in care at her firm’s child centre on West 6th Avenue. They are the only ones facing a hike in fees, but it doesn’t look like the business executive is going to change her mind….

“We need the fee increases to stay open.”

Kids & Company currently bills parents of infants and toddlers $1,550 a month. This will increase to $1,650 effective May 1, and then to $1,915 starting on September 1. The company has informed parents that they have the option to pull out before June 30.

This situation has left parents like Giselle Gerdak in a very tight situation. According to the mother of a 14-month-old girl in care at Kids & Company’s West 6th centre, it’s impossible to find a child-care spot in three months. “We don’t know what to do,” Gerdak told the Straight by phone.

The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. has been pressing for a number of reforms in the province’s child-care system. “This is just another indication of how our provincial government is not making families a priority, and, apparently, for women jobs are not important because there’s no available childcare for their kids while they go to work,” coalition spokesperson Sharon Gregson told the Straight in a phone interview.