Daycare operators in Saskatchewan are fighting for consistency in how property tax rates are applied.
Right now there is no standard system in the province. Some daycares within schools are exempt from paying while others are charged residential rates. Some others are classified as commercial, where property taxes can run in to the tens of thousands of dollars.
Colleen Schmidt is board president of Regina’s Cathedral-area Cooperative Daycare and wants daycares to be considered in the same vein that schools are.
“It makes a lot more sense to tax a daycare like a school, which is tax exempt, rather than taxing it like Wal-Mart,” she explained.
Recent reassessments in some cities have seen daycares face increases of more than $7,000.
Saskatchewan daycares are exclusively non-profit, so it means parents face fee increases every time property rates go up.
“A tax hit like that can be devastating. It will drive fees up. It may result in some spaces being closed or potentially some centres even closing,” Schmidt argued. “Fundraising is a huge thing daycares do just to keep the lights on. That’s not a good way to run daycares. It isn’t sustainable or viable.”
Daycares are in a difficult spot in that they are licensed and regulated by the province yet face issues on a municipal level.
The government included daycares in its Early Years Plan 2016-2020 with a promise to look at the funding model in the future.