Little recourse for B.C. parents overcharged for daycare | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Little recourse for B.C. parents overcharged for daycare

Image Credit: PEXELS/cottonbro

Parents who believe they're getting overcharged by their daycare are worried about losing their kid’s spot if they complain to loudly.

After using the province’s new daycare estimator, a couple from Vancouver said they'd been overcharged by approximately $400 each month – and a total of $2,000 so far.

Like most parts of B.C, finding childcare can be extremely difficult in Vancouver, and the parents worry about losing their child’s spot if they go public, so agreed to withhold their names. They're even worried about speaking about it with other parents from the same childcare centre.

“We fear that it will come back to us and our child will be mistreated or kicked out of the daycare and we have no recourse,” the father said. “The fact that parental leave (employment Insurance) has run out and inflation is running so high means that we can't afford to quit our jobs and take care of our daughter.”

READ MORE: A look at how $10-a-day child-care plans have been rolling out across Canada

The parents are paying $1,500 per month, he said. However, he figures they should only be paying be paying $1,100, at least according to the government's calculator.

Daycares receiving provincial subsidies, such as the one in Vancouver this family is using, and are mandated against overcharging.

"Enrolled organizations receive Parent Fee Reduction Payments, which they must pass on to parents in the form of reduced monthly parent fees, for up to ($350/month for children under 18 months)," according to the funding guidelines.

The father addressed the discrepancy with the daycare.

“The daycare says that their expenses exceed the amount the government is giving them, so this is why they charge more,” he said

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education and Child Care said the estimator's accuracy cannot be guaranteed because it doesn't consider every circumstance. She said parents are encourage to have conversations with their providers about any discrepancies, and to work together to understand the fee breakdown.

But the Vancouver father isn’t paying for any of the daycare’s add-on services, so he doesn’t understand how he’s getting charged so much more than what the estimator says, despite the staff's attempt to explain it.

Parents who are suspicious about the amount they’re being charged for childcare can share their concerns with the Ministry at this email or by calling 1-888-338-6622.

“When the ministry is made aware of an allegation of non-compliance, the ministry conducts an investigation to ensure the provider is meeting all of their obligations,” the spokesperson said.

READ MORE: 'Crisis situation': New Kamloops daycare fills quickly, underlines childcare crunch

The parents in Vancouver have had their daughter’s name on every local waitlist since she was born 13 months ago.

“We are hopeful we will get a spot in March or April at a non-profit location nearby where we live, but will have to tough it out being overcharged by thousands of dollars in that timespan… The choice is really, move, take out a loan for cost of living (and one of us quit our jobs), or keep paying this shady daycare.”

If any parents in the Kamloops or Okanagan areas notice significant discrepancies between their daycare bill and the online estimate, feel free to reach out to via email.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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