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?

BC Business Magazine - - Front Page - By Anne Cas­sel­man

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

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