Okay, I'm just going to tally up what it costs to pay the staff wages at my daycare center, figure out how much parents would be paying if we all went to a system like in Quebec ($7/day), and then let you know how much all you fine taxpayers would be shelling out to help run my small 21 child center.
Current monthly fee per child (second lowest in my city): 630/month
Number of children: 21
Total current monthly income: $13,230/month
Number of staff: 4 (minimum number of staff needed to comply with regulations of child:staff ratio)
Full Timers: 3 @ $12/hour, avg 178 hours/month (based on 8.5 hour days X 21 working days)
= $6408/month in wages (not including holiday pay, months with more working days, etc)
Part Timer: 1 @ 12/hour approx $1500/month (fluctuates with need)
Total Wages: $7908/month in wages (which is about 60% of total income)
If parents start paying $7/day, the total income would change to approx $147/child/month (based on 21 days attendance)... 21 children = $3087 total income under a universal daycare program similar to Quebec.
So right off the bat, $4821 has to come from the govt (aka Tax Payers) just to pay our staff wages every month. Just for one small daycare in a small city that is about half the cost of care in larger cities. That is over $57,000 a year. And we have not even added in the cost of food, running the business itself (building lease or mortgage fees, license costs, food permits, utilities, etc). And we also do not know how much our wages would be. Would they be increased? Decreased? No mention of that, as far as I have seen.
According to CBC news last year, over half of the children in Canada aged 6 months to 5 years were in the care of someone other than a parent. By 2004, there were over half a million daycare spaces in Canada (this does not include dayhomes, kincare, etc). The supporters of national daycare obviously want this number to increase, because they want more families to be able to afford care and go back to work, but let's just say it's at 500,000 spaces across Canada for this program - how much money is that going to cost? I only make $12/hour as it is to help parents be able to afford care but people in larger cities cannot afford to live on that amount, so the funding to those centers would be even higher.
There are 15 centers in my city, and mine is the second SMALLEST. Just using my center's tally as an example, that would mean well over $800,000 a year would be given to centers in my city alone in order to pay low staff wages(again, keep in mind, that was done WITHOUT the cost of food and business costs). My city is the 7th smallest in my province. You do the math yourself. Even if all the cities in my province received the same amount of funding, that is over $5 million dollars a year - but that is a preposterously low amount. I'm just trying to make it easier for you to expand to the Big Picture on your own. What would the cost be in Vancouver? Toronto? Ottawa?
If you still think this would be a sustainable program - also keep this in mind. Every center in my city is full with long waiting lists. It's not like when/if this program goes into place, everyone will magically be able to put their kids in care and go back to work. None of the centers in my city will be able to help you with that. You can call us every day if you like, but we are completely full and will remain so. We are not allowed to take any more children or we would be in direct violation of several regulations, and then we would be shut down. So go ahead - be told that you can pay only $7/day and get all excited - but good luck finding a place to take your child. We would be completely inundated with calls when we already have a waiting list that is longer than how many spaces we have - and that's with parents having to pay several hundred dollars a month; imagine what our waiting list will look like if parents can pay a fraction of that?
It all looks good on paper until someone whips out their calculator......