Waterloo Region proposing fee increase for licensed home daycares

It could soon cost parents in Waterloo Region a lot more money to send their child to a licensed home daycare.

The region is proposing a fee increase for the first time since 2017.

That could double the cost of the only licensed child care option for families who work evenings, weekends and overnights.

"This increase is really to respond to the increased demands of that profession essentially, and being able to provide quality child care which is no important to children in the long-term," said Kristen Bustamante, the manager of home child care for the Region of Waterloo.

She adds that part-day care is becoming unviable, so the changes would see them scrap the fee schedule for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Children six and older, meanwhile, would cost 12 per cent more.

Here's a breakdown of those proposed fees:

  • School age kids (between 0 and 5 hours) - $26 (12%)
  • Infant (between 0 and 10 hours) - $55 (88%)
  • Toddler (between 0 and 10 hours) - $49 (80%)
  • Preschool (between 0 and 10 hours) - $47 (88%)
  • School age (between 0 and 10 hours) - $45 (16%)

If approved, parents of young children could pay upwards of 80 per cent more per day for up to 10 hours of care – even if their child doesn't stay the full 10 hours.

Bustamante says the largest increases would only impact about 20 families and the region will work with those parents individually to find subsidies and supports.

"We see this as a way to support all families, but in particular, families who use these kinds of irregular hours or irregular schedules of care."

Other increases tally less than one per cent.

  • Infant (between 10 and 18 hours) - $62 (0.2%)
  • Toddler (between 10 and 18 hours) - $60 (0.5%)
  • Preschool (between 10 and 18 hours) - $58 (0.5%)
  • School age (between 10 and 18 hours) - $56 (0.8%)
  • Infant (between 18 and 23 hours) - $83 (0.1%)
  • Toddler (between 18 and 23 hours) - $81 (0.4%)
  • Preschool (between 18 and 23 hours) - $79 (0.4%)
  • School age (between 18 and 23 hours) - $77 (0.6%)

Bustamante says the proposed rate increases would go directly to caregiver compensation.

The region hopes that it will see more child care spaces open.

"If the rates go up it results in more caregivers staying in the profession and attracting more caregivers to the profession," Bustamante says. "In that vein, we can keep the spaces that we have and expand the number of spaces."

The proposed increases go to regional council on Dec. 15 when the 2022 budget is expected to be finalized.

If approved, the changes would go into effect on March 1.