How we build fairness and equity into our fee structure

Thanks for clicking on this link to learn more about how we set our fee structure for families we work with. Our goal is for our fees to be fair, equitable, consistent and accessible; this post helps to explain how we achieve that. 

As you are likely aware, LDS is a nonprofit charity with a mission to provide high-quality, individualized, comprehensive learning supports to children, youth and adults to help them build the skills and confidence they need to succeed in life. We take that mission seriously, and so we are always looking at ways to ensure our services are inclusive and accessible for everyone, including financially.  

That commitment to accessibility is why all of our services are offered on a sliding scale that takes into account net household income. 

The ‘full fee’ amount that we charge is still a subsidized rate that does not fully cover our costs as an organization. We work hard to fundraise via several dozens of grants and many hundreds of donations every year to ensure our fees are kept accessible. At the same time, we need to make sure we are bringing in enough revenue via donations, grants and fees that we can afford to pay the team of experienced, caring, specialized and dedicated instructors and staff that deliver our programs and services.  

So, even when a family is being offered a $10, $15 or $70 an hour sliding scale fee, we at LDS are working to subsidize the balance of that hourly fee – potentially including by requesting you work with us to obtain third party funding via CKNW Kids Fund or Variety Children’s Charity, as those are also critical components of our budget.  

In 2020 we made a very small fee adjustment, and in 2021 our fees held stable. In light of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, inflation, and our need to retain the professionals in our team that we all rely on for specialized service, in 2022 we have adjusted our fee scale. We say adjusted because, although the top range of fees has increased, we made significant efforts to adjust the different levels of our fee scale to make these steps more consistent and have also added another option for families whose household income is less than $30,000 annually. Again, we strive for fairness, equity and accessibility across the scale and across our programs and we feel these changes help us achieve that.

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In addition, we are always seeking out special funding opportunities to make some of our programs further accessible and sometimes free of charge to qualifying students and families. We are constantly scrutinizing our processes and practices to ensure that we are operating as efficiently as possible to keep our costs down.  

If you have any questions or concerns about our fee structure, our other grant-funded programs and initiatives, or would like more information, please reach out to us anytime.  

Thanks kindly for your time reading this and continuing to be a valued part of the LDS community. It is our honour to be working with you and your family; please always feel free to reach out to let us know how we can better serve you. 

– Rachel S. Forbes, Executive Director

LDS is a community of dedicated professionals that write collaboratively. We recognize the contribution of unnamed team members for their wisdom and input.