Good news for families across the province! Today the BC government announced the next step on the province’s path to universal child care – funding for the creation of 22,000 new licensed child care spaces over the next three years.
Public partners, local governments, school districts, etc. can access $1 million for each project, not-for-profit organizations can access $500,000, and for-profit companies can access $250,000.
More licensed spaces can’t come soon enough for the thousands of families on waiting lists. Mums like Theo, who is currently looking for toddler care for her son. She says “I need to work knowing my son is safe and well-cared for – there should be a licensed child care space for every child who needs one.”
With long-overdue provincial government investment, child care in BC is finally on the way to becoming more available and affordable for families across the province. However, the third leg of the child care stool – quality – must be addressed promptly, starting with an immediate lift to ECE wages.
“More licensed spaces are desperately needed by families with young children - but equally desperate is the need to have enough educators to work in those new spaces. We’re anxiously waiting for provincial wage enhancement funding, “says spokesperson Sharon Gregson.
Child Care is finally seeing improvements in BC – good public policy that reduces parent fees, invests in Aboriginal Head Start expansion, improved maintenance grants, investments in child care for children with additional support needs, and funds to move unlicensed spaces into the licensed sector.
“However, we are concerned that public funds are still available to build facilities that will be owned by individuals and corporations, rather than publicly-owned like schools and libraries,” commented $10aDay researcher, Lynell Anderson CPA CGA.
No other province or territory in Canada provides such significant, open-ended public funding in the form of capital dollars for the expansion of private child care assets.