The Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists/West Chapter (CADA/West) has announced a new Childcare Subsidy Pilot Program to help dancers offset childcare costs.
CADA/West is a service organization that typically caters to dancers west of Ontario; however, there are no dedicated geographical boundaries. Other programs include a training subsidy program and a studio subsidy program.
The childcare subsidy program is another step toward making it possible for dance artists to train and work. “It’s really difficult for dance artists that don’t make a lot of money,” says Jessica Wadsworth, executive director of CADA/West.
In the consultation process for the pilot program, all CADA/West members were consulted, not just those with kids. Since part of their membership fees would go toward funding the program, it was important to have that support. “One hundred per cent of our membership said, ‘Yes, please do this program,’ ” Wadsworth explains.
Members will be able to claim up to $100 a month on childcare costs incurred while training, rehearsing and performing. “I think it’s going to help me feel like, when I go to work as a dancer, I’m not just handing over my income to childcare,” says Meghan Goodman.
Goodman is a Vancouver-based dance artist. She works with Aeriosa Dance Society and co-directs Body Narrative Collectives. She has a three-year-old and a newborn.
In her busiest months, Goodman spends between $500 and $600 on childcare. Her three-year-old is in daycare two days a week, costing between $60 and $70 a day. Her daycare isn’t included in the $10-a-day childcare pilot program launched by the BC government in November 2018. “Some daycares are getting a small reimbursement, so I think we’re getting $3 a day back,” she says.
The $10-a-day program is making childcare more affordable for a lot of parents, but Lisa Gelley’s childcare doesn’t qualify because it’s not full-time. “The daycare that we found is called flexible occasional care,” she explains.
Gelley co-directs Company 605 in Vancouver with her husband. They have a three-year-old and spend between $600 and $1200 a month on childcare. Their daycare allows them to book up to forty hours a month, at $15 an hour, with just a day’s notice. It’s an ideal option for dance artists. “Childcare cost is on the top of our stress list right now,” she says.
Since Gelley has no other subsidy options, she says CADA/West’s program will make a difference for her. “Hopefully, it can be something that is sustained, because I think there are a lot of families like us that could really benefit from some kind of subsidy when our situations are not allowing us to access the government subsidies,” she says.