News | March 26, 2013

Thank you to Amanda Laurans, from Calgary, who wrote this letter to her MLA and gave us permission to share it.
Dear MLA Hehr:Rachel Sutherland suggested I give you my "daycare" struggle story.I am a single mother who adopted 2 Special Needs children from foster care in Calgary in late 2010. Bio brother and sister 7 & 8. My childcare bills per month are enormous. I will be spending $3000.00 per month just for daycare starting in Sept. The current subsidy for Alberta parents doesn’t cover me because I have too much income according to outdated provincial income schedules. As far as FSCD, that is completely another ball of wax.I had considered not working, and staying home with my children, but my parental leave payments from the federal government left me in such a shortfall. We lived off my line of credit during 2011. The prospect of remaining on some form of government assistance would be ridiculous and impossible considering my son’s very high needs. And his needs are what will put us on social assistance if/when I lose my job because of a lack of daycare.My daycare is a higher than the average single mother. My son has disabilities that require a specialized kind of care. There is no other facility that will accommodate my son’s special needs, and he has been ejected from regular daycare. This forces me to provide out-side the norm care which costs roughly $3000/month not to mention more costly transportation.I live modestly, I get consideration for this adoption, but I have chosen to put that amount away for their post-secondary education. The UCCB the federal government provides is a pittance compared to my costs, and the $7000/child daycare tax assistance is reduced in my case because of their ages. My last tax filing gave me a credit of $11, 000. Because I am a single parent, the single most important and costly issue I face is my daycare bill.I can’t be the only Albertan with a child that requires this kind of care, and I can’t be the only woman who is overwhelmed financially by my daycare costs. Why does the provincial government feel that punishing hardworking mothers, like me, is the answer to our province’s future well-being?Consider this:
  • Women typically make 75% of their male counterpart's salaries
  • Women are generally considered the primary parent by law
  • Single women are responsible for child care, and typically for all of the bills
  • Daycare has become the single most important factor determining women’s rights and freedom in Canada.
The burden of childcare is commonly primarily arranged and executed by the working mothers. The $100/month taxable child payments from the federal government do not cover one tenth of regular daycare expenses in Calgary. This doesn’t truly assist with daycare, and it is creating a situation for single mothers which one cannot reasonably solve by herself.As a representative of a Calgary district, you must understand the normal costs and complications we face within our current economy. I hope that you can represent women in a more positive way than our current “family values” candidates do.I believe this issue can be rectified with some reasonable suggestions to benchmark for the change. I believe the following MINIMUMS should be introduced by the Alberta government:
  • Raising the income threshold from $55,00/year for daycare subsidy to $75,000/year
  • Single mothers could be subsidized with real assistance in the form of a government run daycare allowing them equality among their female peers.
  • A better provincial daycare program would work towards better competition for spaces
  • The Alberta government could provide an additional Child care tax credit/child on top of the federal government’s $7000/child up to another $5000/year.
  • Better pricing regulations for daycares that are clearly out to gouge working middle class mothers.
  • Better quality working conditions and pay for those Albertans who work in the daycare centres.
Quebec mothers pay $7/day in daycare, and the average cost for daycare in Calgary is $48/day for a child that doesn’t require specialized care which could top $165/dayWhy are Calgarians at the mercy of a national tax rebate when we are the richest province? How is this subsidy not aligned with the current cost of living? In the meantime, understanding the current Alberta budget shortfalls, and current economic conditions in Alberta, we need to look for opportunities for Albertans to succeed with their families and pay more taxes eventually. I understand you have been in contact with one of my colleagues who has addressed this issue form her perspective, and I would just like to put my perspective in the mix. I know you are shocked by this government’s plan to address such a crucial issue.Thank you in advance for the disproportionately represented women of Calgary, Alberta.Best regardsAmanda Laurans, Calgary, Alberta

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