$10aDay Child Care NOW
For British Columbia and Canada to forge a resilient and just future, building a quality, affordable child care system with fairly compensated early childhood educators must be a priority. Increasing the public investment in child care now will play a central role in building a sustainable economy - an economy that mitigates climate change, creates green jobs, supports Indigenous peoples on and off reserve, and undoes many inequities in our communities.
That is why, effective July 1st, we call on the BC government to begin moving all currently licensed child care programs to $10aDay child care sites. We call on the federal government to share in the costs of this move as part of a Canada-wide recovery plan. And, we call on both levels of government to prioritize and increase funding for Indigenous-led child care services.
During the COVID-19 pandemic it became abundantly obvious that child care is an essential service. This fact was clearly articulated by provincial and federal leaders including Dr. Bonnie Henry and Premier Horgan and is the basis for taking decisive action on child care in BC’s recovery plan. The pandemic laid bare two undeniable realities about child care.
First, thousands of families have recently lost their jobs and income. They are now facing more financial hardship than ever. To return to work, they need access to affordable child care. A sustainable economic recovery relies on families being able to regain their earning power, rebuild confidence in their future and spend money in their local economy. Access to affordable child care is essential for families to re-enter the labour force. They need access to quality, affordable programs that meet diverse needs, are culturally relevant, and offer non-traditional hours of care for shift/part-time workers.
Second, the pandemic served to highlight that BC needs a publicly-funded and publicly-managed system of child care. While public systems like schools were able to respond to the pandemic crisis with clear provincial policy and decision-making, child care services in BC had no reliable or coherent system of communication or coordination. Public funding is essential to make child care affordable and to compensate early childhood educators fairly. Public management is critical to ensure that the fragile, disconnected child care sector is supported to consistently deliver quality, affordable child care.
Even with spaces available for children of essential workers, families were too often unable to find or afford child care to meet their needs. And, while we all know that public schools will eventually reopen, many child care programs may not as they depend on the decisions made by individual operators who are in turn dependent on market forces.
While government can’t fix everything – it can move to $10aDay Child Care NOW – this will have a huge impact on the economic and social recovery of families and communities.