“No more pencils, no more books….” Many of us will recall chanting this as kids at the end of classes. But when you’re a working parent of school-age children, things look a bit different. You have to think about what they’ll be doing all summer! Day camps are often a great answer. Here are some things to know before signing them up.
What the camp must provide
Day camps run by private businesses are subject to the Consumer Protection Act, just like any other business offering services to the public. This means they must
- provide a valid contract setting out the cost of the services, the total amount to be paid, and the terms of payment,
- divide the total amount into at least two payments that are about equal, and
- not require payment before the camp begins.
Cities and towns that operate day camps are not subject to these rules.
Good to know: For camps offered by cities or towns, you can contact your municipality directly to find out the payment terms and rules about cancellation and refunds. In case of disagreement, many municipalities have an ombudsman. Their mission is to protect citizens’ rights and provide assistance free of charge if you have a complaint about a municipal service.
Of course, the whole idea behind day camps is for kids to have fun during the summer! The counsellors lead the activities and ensure children follow camp rules and stay safe. But if your child breaks something or causes some damage — whether on purpose or while having “too much fun” — you could be held responsible. And because you’ve delegated your parental authority to the counsellors, they could also be held responsible.
Tax credits and deductions
Day camps, depending on the type, can be expensive. However, both the Quebec and federal governments offer some financial relief. For example, you may be eligible for the Quebec government’s tax credit for childcare expenses.