EDITORIAL: A good start to childcare

$10-a-day care is still a long way off

Sooke News Mirror / Editorial May 8, 2019 

Make no mistake about it, after 16 years of neglect under B.C’s Liberal government, the child care landscape in B.C. has begun to claw it’s way back to a level that might give parents a cause for hope.

But there’s a long way to go.

Every daycare currently operating in Sooke has a waiting list and that situation is far from unique.

It’s estimated that in B.C. only one in five children currently have access to a licensed daycare spot.

It’s a shameful situation that has forced some parents to leave the workforce and has caused others to work graveyard shifts so that, bleary-eyed, they can care for their children during the day.

Others have reacted to the massive shortfall in regulated child care by opting for “license-not-required spaces” in which care for pre-school children is provided in private homes where the service is not regulated beyond restrictions on the number of wee ones taken into care. There are no qualifications required for the caregivers and virtually no regulations on the physical space, equipment or activities provided.

And, in both licensed and unlicensed care options, the fees paid by parents can be crippling, representing the second largest family expenditure in B.C., right behind housing.

That’s why when the NDP was elected after campaigning on a promise of $10-a-day daycare and additional supports to create more daycare spaces, many saw it as the answer to their prayers.

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Kamloops council gives unanimous support to $10aday Child Care Plan

by: Brendan Kergin

The City of Kamloops has joined with dozens of other B.C. municipal governments in supporting the $10aDay Child Care Plan to help make child care more affordable and accessible across the province.

Council voted to write a letter of support for the plan after Sharon Gregson, the plan's spokesperson, made a presentation to council. As part of the presentation, Gregson told council 55 municipalities in B.C. had signed on, the vote makes Kamloops 56.

"The system has been left to whither in the marketplace when there really should be public investment for building a public system, which is what the $10-a-day plan is," she says.

While she's garnered support from municipalities, school districts and other organizations, like the Union of B.C. Municipalities, Gregson's target is the provincial and federal governments. When she's made presentations to local levels of government she says there's been little resistance to the plan. However, the plan requires funding from upper levels of government; she's hoping the support from municipalities will help.

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Kamloops council endorses $10-a-day child care

Kamloops is the 56th local/regional government to endorse the plan, in addition to more than 30 school districts

Jessica Wallace /Kamloops This Week  MAY 8, 2019

Kamloops council has endorsed what the province says is one of the largest social policy shifts in B.C.’s history — $10-a-day child care.

However, it is unclear when universal child care will be available to all B.C. residents, as promised by the NDP during the 2017 election campaign.

“It’s going to take time, unfortunately,” said the program’s provincial spokesperson, Sharon Gregson, of Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC.

Gregson was at city hall on Tuesday, requesting council’s support and detailing a 10-year plan, which is currently in its first year.

“Because the crisis was allowed to get so bad, there’s only enough child-care spaces in B.C. for about 20 per cent of children,” she said. “Early-childhood educators earn below a living wage and fees are sky high. That kind of thing doesn’t changed overnight.”

Council unanimously agreed to draft a resolution in support of the proposed $10-a-day plan. Kamloops is the 56th local/regional government to endorse the plan, in addition to more than 30 school districts.

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Tri-Cities Parents Scrambling

Tri-City parents scrambling after Port Coquitlam daycare closes suddenly

Parents in the Tri-Cities are scrambling to find child care after a Port Coquitlam daycare closed suddenly.

Kendra Riley paid a $250 deposit in April to secure an after-school spot for her daughter at the Poco Dots Child Care Centre in September.

But three weeks after registering and paying, she shared the facility’s name in a Facebook group, and that’s when other parents reached out to warn her.

READ MORE: How Canadian provinces are taking on affordable child care — and how it compares to the world

“Within minutes, two or three parents responded to my message and said, ‘Oh that daycare is closed. Their last day was last Thursday, they went under.”

Shannon Derrick, whose child was registered for an after-school spot this fall, also discovered the bad news through social media.

WATCH: John Horgan on whats to come with the NDP’s child care plan

 

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Putting people first

Launching first phases of universal child care policy through a $10-a-day pilot program

John Horgan / Apr. 18, 2019

Wherever I go, I meet people who have had to make difficult choices to help their family get ahead and thrive. Over the past decade British Columbians have struggled with rising costs and declining services, because of decisions that were made to benefit the few at the top.

Our government is making different choices and putting people first – and that’s starting to yield real benefits for people.

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$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Ashley Wadhwani / Feb. 20, 2019

The NDP’s $10-a-day child care may not have been directly mentioned in the government’s provincial budget, despite it being one of the party’s key election promises, but one advocate says the government is still on the right track with what was announced this week.

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. called Tuesday’s budget “a funding envelope” that supports a move to $10-a-day care.

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BC Child Care Dilemma

B.C. family wins child care lottery, another 'stuck in the middle'

David Molko / February 27, 2019

Susan Tran from Vancouver and Edith MacHattie from Port Moody are like many Metro Vancouver middle class parents. Both are married with multiple children, and both they and their spouses are juggling full-time jobs.

"If we don't follow a schedule, there's no way I'm going to survive," Tran says, describing her five-year-old son Jack and three-year-old twins Max and Charlie as "high energy."

"It takes a ton of energy every single day," MacHattie echoes, adding that her four-year-old daughter Aurora is "interested in everything, and wants to do it herself," while 19-month-old Theo is "a ray of sunshine."

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City of Kamloops receives $25K grant

City of Kamloops receives $25K grant for use in child-care space inventory

Jessica Wallace / March 22, 2019 

A Kamloops councillor who has been pushing the issue of a lack of child-care spaces in the city is delighted with news the city has received a $25,000 provincial grant to create an inventory of child-care spaces in the city.

“I’ve been pushing this issue, one that has been challenging to get some traction at city hall because childcare is not seen as a municipal issue,” city councillor and Deputy Mayor Dale Bass said, noting when it impacts parents’ wallets, it is, in fact, an “economic issue.”

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Canadian provinces taking on child care

How Canadian provinces are taking on affordable child care — and how it compares to the world

Maham Abedi / March 26, 2019

Alberta’s New Democrats have unveiled an election pledge that would expand its $25-a-day child care plan.

The province’s NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the price cap would apply no matter what a parent has been currently paying for child care, and expands a pilot program that capped daycare costs at $25 daily at 7,300 spaces in 122 locations.

“Anything that holds Alberta women back, holds Alberta back.” Notley said.

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Child care study

Child care study money a step towards $10 a day care — advocate

Diane Strandberg / March 22, 2019

Grants totaling $75,000 for child care planning in Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam won’t solve the daycare crisis today but will go a long way towards the implementation of a $10-a-day plan, says a B.C. advocate.

“It’s another important step towards it,” said Sharon Gregson of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. “We have to make sure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and the way to do that is to have public parties and cities and school districts plan for a daycare system so we move from a crazy patchwork of what happens now towards a well-planned system of where we expand and how we expand.”

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