Struggling To Afford Child Care
Meet the Bright family. They look like a typical young happy family, but they are struggling with the cost of child care.
“I can hardly bear to think how we’ve coped and how we’re going to be coping probably for the rest of our lives,” said Gillian Bright. “We wanted to have three or four children, but we can’t because of the cost of child care.”
The Bright family moved to BC from Toronto hoping they would have more opportunities, but things haven’t panned out the way that they had hoped. Gillian is a PhD student, and her husband started his own business shortly after moving to BC. Although the cost of child care is similar to Toronto, Gillian thinks that Toronto has a much better subsidy system since it determines how much a family actually needs to stay out of poverty, instead subsidizing a limited amount.
“We struggled a great deal with the expenses of childcare, which is just so overwhelming that it has kind of drowned everything else,” said Gillian.
Gillian is one of the approximately 3,000 people who filled out the BC Council for Families’ second Let’s Talk Families BC! survey in the summer of 2014. Many respondents echoed Gillian’s sentiments with 25% indicating that child care was one of the biggest issues their family struggled with. The only issue that trumped child care was income, with 35% of respondents saying they frequently faced income challenges. The combination of struggling to pay for child care and challenges with employment and income have made it exponentially harder for Gillian to finish her education.
“Ironically it has lengthened the amount of time it is taking me to complete my degree because it has just been so stressful,” said Gillian. “It has been harder to focus on the things that I need to finish my PhD and graduate, as well as actually get into the workforce.”
In hindsight Gillian felt that her family should have never moved to BC as the challenges they face here have put undue stress on her marriage and have left them in debt and struggling.
“I’ve never seen so many stay-at-home parents other than in BC,” said Gillian. “Many families just can’t afford to have two working parents and it is often women who end up staying home. It’s as much a women’s right issue as it is a family issue.”
There are families across the province, like the Bright family, struggling with the challenges such as the cost of child care. Talking about the everyday challenges and struggles you and your family are dealing with helps organizations like the BC Council for Families better understand and advocate for the needs of families. Share what you find challenging about raising your family in BC!