Waitlist fees defended

A Vancouver daycare is defending waitlist fees, despite parents calling the practice a cash grab.

Lower Mainland parents have called for B.C. to follow Ontario's lead and ban the fees, which can be as high as $100, with no guarantee of a spot.

But Darcelle Cottons of UBC Childcare Services says the $15 fee at her daycare is needed to cover the costs of maintaining a 1,000-name list.

"The application fee pays the salary of the person who manages the waiting list,," Cottons told CTV.

"We have such a shortage of childcare that we have people in tears all the time."

But she questions the justification for fees that can top $100. "It's taking advantage of a very stressed parent," she said.

Stephanie Tsui says she paid "probably close to $300-$400 in waitlists over… eight different daycares," while trying to find care for her two sons. "We got called back by two."

She would like more transparency, so parents can see where they are on the lists.

"Really, you have no idea where you are, or if the waitlists even exist," she said.

Emily Mlieczko of the Early Childhood Educators of B.C., said the fees are a symptom of the lack of available spaces.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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