Nunavut daycare ups fees by $1 per day starting 2018

By 2020, fees at Iqaluit child care centre will have increased by $3 per day


Parents who send children to Aakuluk Daycare in Iqaluit will have to pay $5 more per week in 2018. Fees will increase by the same amount in 2019 and 2020 as well. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Parents who send children to Aakuluk Daycare in Iqaluit will have to pay $5 more per week in 2018. Fees will increase by the same amount in 2019 and 2020 as well. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Client fees at Iqaluit’s Aakuluk Daycare are going up by a dollar a day after Christmas, and by another dollar a day for each of the next two years, according to a letter from its executive director obtained by Nunatsiaq News.

The price hike was passed in a unanimous vote during the daycare society’s annual general meeting, Sept. 23. But a letter, circulated to parents Oct. 17, further outlined the incremental increase.

“The members of our society in attendance voted to increase fees at the child care centre each year for the next three years by 1.6 per cent rounded to the nearest dollar,” read the letter.

The 1.6 per cent figure, the daycare said, was based on the average rate of change in the Consumer Price Index for Iqaluit.

The $1 daily increase for the next three years works out to $5 more per week and roughly $20 more per month in 2018, with the same increase for 2019 and 2020.

Current fees at Aakuluk are $57 per day for an infant and $53 per day for a pre-school aged child. Those daily fees will rise to $60 and $56 respectively, by 2020.

“Costs to the daycare, like any business or household in the territory, increase annually. The daycare often struggles to cover total expenses,” said the letter to parents. Aakuluk added that they also struggle to attract and retain high quality staff.

Client fees cover a little more than half of the organization’s annual expenses, said the letter. “The difference must be covered by seeking grants and financial support from other organizations and fundraising.”

The society is currently selling chocolates as a Christmas fundraiser.

While the society has to supplement its annual expenses through outside support, many of the daycare centre’s users in Nunavut require extra help to pay their child care bills too.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association recently increased its daycare subsidy by $5 per day for Inuit.

Inuit who already access a $19-per-day subsidy through the QIA’s Kakivak Association will now be eligible for a $24-per-day subsidy, the QIA announced Oct. 5.

In total, the QIA will now be spending $312,500 annually on Baffin daycare centre subsidies.

“QIA went through a lengthy community engagement process before we selected our new benefits fund programs. We heard clearly from Inuit that one of their priorities was access to affordable daycare,” said a spokesperson for the QIA.

“The Board approved the new subsidy as a way to help make daycare more affordable. The QIA Board will evaluate and determine if this will continue after a two-year period.

“QIA recognizes that daycares in our region work hard to deliver their service, therefore our organization urges the next Government of Nunavut to act and improve access to daycares in our territory.”

A new Iqaluit daycare centre is scheduled to open in 2019, and is funded by the federal government.

The QIA’s subsidy is available only to land claim beneficiaries.

Aakuluk’s Oct. 17 letter to parents said the $1 increase would begin Nov. 1. But an email sent the same day pushed the start date to Jan. 1. The timeframe allows for 60 days notice required through a contribution agreement with the territory’s Department of Education.

“Any facility in Nunavut that receives our Operations and Maintenance Program Contribution must give parents 60 days notice when they plan to change their rates,” an Education Department spokesperson told Nunatsiaq News.

“All parental fees are determined by the individual organizations (non-profits, hamlets, DEAs, etc) that operate licensed facilities. They are currently not regulated in Nunavut.”

Fees at Aakuluk were last increased in 2014, by $3 a day.

Nunatsiaq News asked Aakuluk’s board to comment on the fee increase but they declined.

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