Safe, Affordable and Accessible Daycare a Struggle for some Regina Families

Chantel Feszczryn and daughter Harper. Photo by Chantel Feszczyn.

Chantel Feszczyn was three months pregnant with her first son when she put her name on a waiting list for daycare.

“At the time it felt too soon to think about daycare,” said Feszczyn, now a mother of three, whose youngest is almost two years old. “My mom pushed me to plan it sooner, and she was right. It was really hard to find a good [daycare].”

For Feszczyn, finding childcare options was the initial challenge. Each time her kids were ready for daycare, she would interview around 10 providers before deciding.

The Government of Saskatchewan has an online database of licensed daycare providers organized by community. The site currently lists 587 licensed childcare facilities across the province, but few details are provided. To find out more about the daycares, parents rely on others for recommendations.

“I wish there was a better way to find good daycares other than through word of mouth,” Feszczyn said.

“I have lots of friends with kids that I can talk to about daycare, but I think about people who just moved to the city. They don’t have those connections.”

Despite her preparation, Feszczyn went through three different daycares with her first son. The second daycare was particularly problematic.

“[The daycare] seemed really good, but I found out from my son that when he wasn’t behaving, he wasn’t allowed to have water,” Feszczyn said.

Krystal Safinuk, another Regina parent, has experienced problems with daycare, too. Availability was a challenge. She signed up for a waiting list while pregnant and was 80th in line for a spot at the YMCA.

Safety was also a concern for her. When Safinuk’s son was in pre-kindergarten, he suddenly didn’t want to go to daycare anymore, even though he typically enjoyed it.

“When I asked him why, he told me that [the childcare provider] was hitting her daughter and another kid,” said Safinuk.

Parents consider many factors when choosing daycare providers, including safety, cleanliness, location, and size. For Feszczyn and Safinuk, it’s important that providers are CPR and First Aid certified, that healthy meals are provided and that there are good reviews from other families.

Cost is another big issue for Feszczyn and Safinuk.

“If I had to send all three of my kids to daycare, I wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Feszczyn said.

With three children as well, it became financially impractical for Safinuk to continue using daycare. Since childcare costs were higher than her mortgage, she chose to leave her job and stay at home full-time with her children.

“I would really like the $10 a day daycare that the federal government has promised,” Safinuk said.

The Government of Canada has pledged an on average $10 a day childcare system. According to its website, “By the end of 2022, this new system would reduce fees for parents with children in regulated childcare by 50 per cent on average.”

When asked about efforts to improve affordability, a representative of the Early Learning sector within the Ministry of Education referred to previously announced grants. These grants aim to help reduce fees through licensed childcare. According to the press release from Nov. 19, this funding “is the first step toward reaching the 2025-26 goal of, on average, $10 a day licensed child care in Saskatchewan.”

Read more: Government Grant Money Could Reduce Childcare Costs 

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