Oh, baby! Can we fix the child-care crisis?
With a chronic child-care shortage making life difficult for B.C. families and businesses, will $1 billion in new provincial spending turn the tide?
Tiffany Ottahal, a working mother of two children aged three and one, knows how lucky she is. Her son and daughter are in licensed child care, and she and her husband own, together with the bank, the roof over their heads. But those blessings are hard-won.
Earlier this year, the Ottahals were making a go of it in a two-bedroom Burnaby condo that their young family was quickly outgrowing. “From a housing perspective, we couldn’t afford a place in our neighbourhood that would have enough room for our family,” explains Tiffany, who works in non-profit management. “We’re very fortunate in that we have well-paying jobs, but even though we had done everything right, we couldn’t afford housing.”
Renting didn’t seem viable either, between high prices— about $2,700 for a threebedroom—and the constant threat of renoviction, a fate suffered by many of their friends. With Tiffany’s maternity leave about to end, though, housing was less urgent than child care. When two daycare spots did open up, she was elated, but the $2,600 monthly bill negated most of her income.
“It made it even more impossible,” Tiffany recalls. “Going back to work, the majority of my wage would go just to child care, and how were we going to have enough room for our kids? We were basically stuck.”
The Ottahals couldn’t help wonder: Did friends who were in the same boat as them and
MOVING ON UP Lower daycare costs helped working mom Tiffany Ottahal and her family afford a home with room for everyone