Editorial: Losing daycare spaces

The provincial government has ambitious plans to create more childcare spaces, but some daycares in Greater Victoria have closed their doors.

Desperate parents are scouring the city in search of available and affordable spaces for their children, and the government has found that solving the problem is more difficult than its promises suggested.

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The province said it would create 22,000 new childcare spaces and train 2,300 new early childhood educators over the next three years. Despite that commitment, one daycare operator estimates that 100 spaces have been lost in Greater Victoria since May.

The biggest contributors to daycare closures are costs and lack of staff, primarily the latter. The government plans to spend $136 million to train new early childhood educators, but low wages and burnout make it hard to keep people.

Raising wages is obviously one way to make the job more attractive, but that would mean raising fees, which are already a staggering burden for parents.

The government now offers operators up to $350 a month per childcare space to help reduce fees and expanded the number of parents who are eligible for a new childcare benefit of up to $1,250 per child.

With families needing two incomes to survive in high-cost Victoria, the demand is going to continue. Training more staff won’t fix anything, if those new workers follow their colleagues out the door.

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