UBC remains firm on increased child-care fees

Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight


UBC will not roll back child-care fees, according to the university’s managing director of student housing and hospitality services…

In this week’s edition of the Georgia Straight, Trish Everett, president of Local 2278 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, said that child-care costs at UBC increased by 25 percent in three years.

Everett’s union represents more than 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students at UBC who work as teaching assistants, markers, and tutors. Many of them have young families.

In a letter dated June 1, 2013, and addressed to UBC president Stephen Toope, Everett called on the university to reverse the five-percent increase this year. She noted to Toope that the raise comes on top of the back-to-back 10-percent hikes in the previous two years.

“I do think that we need to have more correspondence with that individual,” Parr said, referring to Everett. “We’re not in a position that we’re going to revoke that five percent.”

Parr explained that the 25-percent increase in fees over three years applies only to infant and toddler childcare.

The UBC official also noted that this year’s fee increase for the other age categories is two to three percent. He added that in the past three years, the cost of caring for children outside the infant and toddler categories rose 8.5 percent.

“Infant and toddler care is a very expensive form of care, not just at UBC but just in general because the ratio of caregiver to child is double that of a three- to five-year-old,” Parr said. “So, basically, the costs to provide that service are double. If we charge full costs to infant and child care, it will be close to double what it is today.”

Parr also said that fees from caring for older children actually subsidize costs for infants and toddlers. “It continues to do so today just by the nature of the costs,” he said.

UBC students with infants in care pay $1,355 a month. Those with toddlers are charged $1,245.

“So parent fees only cover the cost of the child-care service, of actually caring for the child, which is really, vastly, the cost of labour,” Parr said. “And it’s not a profit centre. So we’re really just in a position to create a system structure that covers the cost of labour and to provide the service. Other costs such as capital, utilities, fire and maintenance, and support services like IT and finance and things like that are all covered by the university.”