Child Care in BC today is in chaos. Sky high parent fees. Spaces for only 20% of children. Poorly paid caregivers leaving the field.
The broadly supported $10aDay Child Care Plan is the made-in-BC solution. It’s based on the best global evidence that highlights the need for public funding to lower parent fees, increase the number of licensed spaces and raise caregiver wages and education.
Below we examine each major party’s 2017 election platform to determine how they align with the $10aDay Plan. We’re looking for concrete, costed and accountable action in all 3 areas – parent fees, licensed spaces, caregiver wages and education.
With 10 year federal funding now confirmed, we’re also looking for a vision and long-term strategy for achieving high quality, affordable child care for all who need and want it.
The differences in the party platforms are striking! Help BC families now:
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- Join our Thunderclap campaign to send a clear message that on May 9th, we'll be voting to make affordable, quality child care a reality in BC.
- Tell your MLA candidates how much child care means to you.
- Encourage friends and family to vote.
Here is our analysis explained:
The BC NDP are committed to bring in the $10aDay Child Care Plan. Their platform includes sufficient funds over the next 3 years to achieve the timelines and targets established in the Plan’s proposed implementation schedule for lowering parent fees, creating more licensed spaces and raising caregiver wages and education.
The Plan’s implementation schedule starts by lowering fees to $10aDay for all licensed infant/toddler spaces (with no fees for families earning less than $40,000 annually). This action would make child care immediately affordable for 15,000 families. By 2020, it would add 22,500 new spaces, serving 30,000 more children. In total, 45,000 families would have affordable child care within three years.
The Plan’s implementation schedule also includes funding to prioritize caregiver education and improve wages and benefits. It has timelines and targets to monitor progress towards full implementation within 10 years to achieve the goal of making high quality, affordable child care available to all who need and want it.
The NDP Platform recognizes child care as an economic boost for BC, citing one of multiple economic studies that confirms the socio-economic benefits of the Plan outweigh the costs.
The BC Green Party incorporates elements of the Plan and promises significant funds to make child care more available and affordable in BC. Their implementation details are less clear.
The BC Green Party platform provides free part-day child care (preschool) for 3- and 4-year olds and free daycare for children up to age 3 with working parents. This will be treated as a taxable benefit for those with incomes over $80,000.
Their goal is to have 85% of children participating in preschool programs by 2025. The short-term objectives do not include specific projections for new spaces, indicating they’ll be established in collaboration with stakeholders.
Their platform does not address the full-working day child care needs of families with 3 and 4 year olds, nor does it address the education and wages of caregivers.
The Greens indicate that their proposed program will be implemented over at least 4 years, and they propose a substantial spending increase in the short term. However, their child care platform and related budget also includes a new direct payment to families with a stay-at-home parent and a child under age 3, so the child care component of their budget is not clear. Without a clear costing, and related timelines and targets for implementation, we cannot confirm their plan’s accountability.
The BC Liberal Party Platform does not include a long term vision for child care.
The BC Liberal Party Platform identifies that “the real challenge is making sure there are enough spaces to cut through waitlists, and making sure there are enough child care workers to provide a safe environment to help your child develop” (p. 92). Their platform does not include concrete accountability measures for addressing these challenges.
The BC Liberals commitment is unchanged from the budget they put forward in February, 2017. There are no funds to make child care more affordable by lowering parent fees. Nor are there funds to raise caregiver wages and education levels, both of which are required to recruit and retain enough well-qualified caregivers to maintain safe and nurturing environments for young children.
In February 2013, the BC Liberals set a goal of creating 13,000 new child care spaces by 2020. They report that 4,300 of those spaces have been secured to date. Their 2017 platform commits to using new federal funds to help create the remaining 8,700 spaces (13,000 - 4,300) over the next three years, with 5,000 created in 2017.
Given the relatively slow pace of space creation to date, and the fact that while in government the BC Liberals consistently underspent their child care budget, this commitment appears ambitious. And even if it is achieved, BC’s child population is projected to grow by 18,000 over the next three years, so it’s unlikely that waitlists will be reduced.
On their own, waiting lists are not a meaningful indicator of the child care challenge in BC. Parents may not put their names on wait lists for services that they want but can’t afford. Furthermore, wait list data is not consistently tracked and centrally reported, so there is no mechanism in place to monitor progress on this objective.