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March 8, 2007

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By Jennifer Gehiere

I was both pleased and annoyed by the Jan. 11/07 SFU News item about the SFU Childcare Society's (SFUCCS) new funding grant—pleased to learn about funds for much-needed renovations but annoyed at the reminder of the dismal state of Canadian childcare.

Recent government funding cuts mean the society is facing a deficit unless parent fees are raised from the current $997 per month for infant and toddler care and close to $700 per month for three-to-five-year-olds. The SFUCCS currently cares for over 250 children, 90 percent of whom are university-affiliated, with 590 more on the waitlist.

I am an SFU alumna, SFU staff, and single parent of a child at the SFUCCS. I've already turned down career advancement opportunities at the Surrey campus because of the lack of childcare spaces in the area. SFU has no immediate plans for daycare at Surrey but SFU Community Trust is building a childcare facility for UniverCity.

I provide excellent service to the university, but without continued access to quality, affordable childcare, my working days might be numbered.

With a significant number of faculty and staff nearing retirement, the university should consider supporting additional childcare that could help to recruit and retain exceptional faculty, staff, and students.

Parents need to demand more funding from government and employers. Days of protest are being planned. 

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