May is Child Care Month 2023
Joint Statement to Acknowledge May is Child Care Month 2023
BCACCS, ECEBC, MNBC, CCCABC
Across British Columbia children are thriving, parents are able to be at work or school, and communities are prospering in a multitude of ways, all because of quality licensed child care programs.
Recognizing May as Child Care Month brings public and political acknowledgement of the significance of quality child care as an essential community service.
This year, May brings with it a heartfelt recognition and appreciation for all who work in the child care sector; the educators, administrators, Elders, cooks, and other professionals who together care for children and families. We collectively celebrate the skilled professionals who care for and educate children in licensed child care programs across the province. Without them there is no child care system.
Since 2018, with provincial and federal funding, there has been some measurable progress towards a child care system in BC that:
- meets the needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children through equitable and culturally grounded teaching which reflects Indigenous knowledge.
- reduces fees for families in licensed programs, creates more licensed spaces, and invests in early childhood educators.
Yet, there is much more for governments to do to realize their commitments under the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement and to uphold Indigenous rights as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Today there are child care spaces available for fewer than 25% of BC children, educators are not fairly compensated, not all families have affordable fees, and there are too few culturally relevant programs for Indigenous families.
In 2023 our pledge for Child Care Month is that we will continue to work and advocate for the child care system BC families want, need and deserve. A system that cares for and provides supports to include all children successfully, provides fair compensation and working conditions for educators, respects First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge, promotes gender equity, creates strong communities and a robust economy.
Letter from Minister Grace Lore
In February 2023 hundreds of $10aDay supporters wrote to government highlighting the urgent need for a fair wage grid for educators in the child care sector, and for publicly planned expansion of new programs.
This letter from Minister Grace Lore was received in response in which she states BC has committed to developing and implementing a wage grid for ECEs.
Child Care Successes Can't Stop Here
Other provinces are catching up and surpassing B.C. as leaders in affordable child care
Read the article at The Orca...
There’s been amazing progress on child care in B.C. over the last few years, so why are child care advocates concerned now?
Our province led the country by being first to introduce $10aDay child care programs in 2018. Families now pay no more than $10 a day in about 13,000 spaces across the province, and for those not yet in a $10aDay space their fees have been reduced by up to $900 a month. These are huge improvements on affordability for families with young children, with fee reductions for school-age programs coming in September.
And historically under-valued early childhood educators now receive a $4/hour publicly funded wage enhancement, with opportunities for post-secondary tuition bursaries. Plus, the province has funded the creation of more than 30,000 new licensed child care spaces since 2018 with another 30,000 committed with the help of the feds by 2026.
So, with all this progress, what are our concerns?
Response to BC Budget 2023
Media release from the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC
February 28, 2023
BC Budget 2023 & Child Care: Lack of Profile or Next Steps to $10aDay….. but Commitments Remain
Child care progress highlighted for contribution to family affordability and growth in women’s employment.
Despite measurable progress since 2018, the ongoing increases in federal funding, and the acknowledgement of child care as an essential service, BC Budget 2023 was surprisingly silent on child care.
“We had to dig deep in the budget documents to see that the multi-year funding detailed in last year’s budget remain in place” noted $10aDay Researcher Lynell Anderson, CPA, CGA.
“We’re surprised there was no mention of the continuing fee reductions for families, including for preschool and school age child care”, stated Sharon Gregson, $10aDay Spokesperson. “Parents expected to see new targets for more $10aDay programs” she added.
There is still a crisis in the ECE sector emphasized Emily Mlieczko, ECEBC Executive Director. “The essential next step for government is to address recruitment and retention of Early Childhood Educators and recognize the pedagogy and ethical commitments of this work,”. “It is vital that this step includes an equitable ECE wage grid, with benefits, and establishes working conditions that will stabilize, and grow the profession to address the shortage of qualified educators.”
Too many families today are facing the worry of long waiting lists for a child care space. Government must fulfill its commitment to develop and implement a capital plan to build high quality, publicly-funded, community-owned facilities to meet local needs and priorities.
The next five years of the ten year $10aDay Plan are crucial, and we remain committed to working with governments to achieve an inclusive, high quality and equitable $10aDay child care system. We expect that government will continue to fulfill the commitments made under the Canada-wide Agreement with the federal government, and included in Minister Lore’s mandate letter, both of which must be aligned with UNDRIP.
Chinazor is an Early Childhood Educator in Victoria, British Columbia and a member of the CCCABC Wage Grid Committee. She has a message about the importance of a fair province-wide wage grid for educators. Please watch...
Recruitment & Retention Report
Evaluation of Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy
In 2018, British Columbia launched the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy (ECL R&R Strategy). It is part of a larger ten‐year (“Childcare BC”) plan, to increase the quality, affordability, and availability of child care spaces in British Columbia. Its initial $136m investment included many tactics such as the wage enhancement and supports for professional development. While they have been expanded in various ways since 2018, it remains with its original intent. It seeks to meet the following three overarching long‐term goals:
- An adequate and stable workforce comprised of qualified and skilled early care and learning professionals
- Early care and learning as a viable, sustainable, and valued career
- Appropriate compensation plans and human resource strategies.
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST) simultaneously engaged the Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC) to lead an evaluation. The goal was to enable a mechanism for regular sector feedback on the overarching impacts of the ECL R&R Strategy. ECEBC selected Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) to undertake the sector-led evaluation.
This evaluation report for 2021 includes project results and lessons to the end of 2021. It includes the project management work plan and a report on Sector Steering Committee activities. It updates the implementation of the evaluation methodology. These include tentative plans for the extension of the evaluation to cover 2022 and 2023.
- Read the full report here.
- Download the summary infographics below:
New Federal Child Care Legislation
Media Release December 9, 2022
New Federal Legislation for Child Care: It’s been a long time coming!
52 years after the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada first recommended a national day care act, we are now on the brink of seeing that vision set out in law. Times have changed since 1970! Families today know that high-quality child care provides social and economic benefits, and they need access to affordable, inclusive programs more than ever before.
Over a decade ago the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC partnered to develop the $10aDay Child Care Plan - and now we see federal legislation that proposes to enshrine the vision of $10aDay across Canada.
“We celebrate the introduction of Bill C-35, the Canada Early Learning and Child Care Act, which sets out the federal government’s vision for a Canada-wide, community-based early learning and child care system” said $10aDay researcher Lynell Anderson, “and we applaud the federal government’s important commitment to upholding Indigenous rights and jurisdiction in the legislation.”
Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the $10aDay Child Care campaign, points out the legislation confirms a federal commitment to long-term funding for child care. “Over the last few years, BC has invested significant provincial funds on the road to $10aDay” she noted. “With new federal funding in place, BC is accelerating progress towards a system that meets the diverse needs of families and values early childhood education professionals.”
“The new legislation confirms federal funds will continue to prioritize expansion of non-profit and public programs,” notes Emily Mlieczko, on behalf of the Early Childhood Educators of BC. “Bill C-35 also supports key priorities in BC, which includes implementing fair compensation to support educators in their multifaceted work while ensuring families pay no more than $10aDay for child care.”
We fully support a Canada-wide system of early learning and child care that strengthens policy frameworks and funding agreements in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as Canada’s international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Focus on Rights and Reconciliation
The need for a province-wide fair wage grid with a focus on Indigenous rights and reconciliation.
In British Columbia we are celebrating the measurable progress achieved in our province since 2018 towards creating a $10aDay child care system to meet the needs of children, families, communities, and the economy.
After decades of neglect there is of course much more to do - but - child care in our province is increasingly more affordable with the rapid expansion of $10aDay sites, and significant fee reductions in other programs. There are thousands more licensed spaces across the province, and early childhood educators have a $4/hour publicly funded wage enhancement. Importantly, there are new investments with First Nations, Métis Nation and in Aboriginal Head Start for the expansion of Indigenous-led programs, with affordable fees, and improved educator wages.
These important milestones reflect provincial and federal policy and funding commitments to achieve a quality $10aDay system. A system that ensures culturally safe child care services reflecting Indigenous rights, jurisdiction, and worldviews that strengthen the gifts of children, families, and communities. A system that must prioritize increased access for all Indigenous children, including those living away from their home nations to their languages and cultures.
However, the main obstacle to expanding access to licensed child care and achieving quality goals is a shortage of early childhood educators and other child care professionals. It’s a problem that requires much more significant action than is reflected in the government's current recruitment and retention strategies. The lack of qualified educators today is preventing many existing programs from operating at full capacity and is an obvious barrier to achieving the expansion required to ensure child care is available for all families who choose it.
With BC’s adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act it is especially vital to encourage and sustain Indigenous educators within the growing child care sector. As so clearly stated by the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council, we must move towards restoration and reconciliation while prioritizing the implementation of trauma informed practices within our services in order to create cultural safety. And, to further advance decolonized funding structures by providing more than a “living wage” to Indigenous staff we must provide them with a thriving wage so that families can transcend conditions of scarcity.
A province-wide publicly funded and fair wage grid for educators, as recommended by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and Early Childhood Educators of BC, along with allies such as the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council, needs to be the next milestone in BC as we lead the way on implementing $10aDay child care across Canada.
After decades of undervaluing child care professionals by making their compensation largely reliant on parent fees, the 2021 Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement commits the Government of BC to develop a wage grid for educators. Now is the time for us all to advocate for BC Budget 2023 to transition the current ECE wage enhancement into a competitive province-wide wage grid for the child care sector, learning from the wage grids implemented by BC Aboriginal Child Care Society and Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC.
Together we advocate - together we make progress.
Indigenous Early Learning Child Care Planner at Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council
Spokesperson $10aDay Child Care Campaign with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC
Download this joint statement from MVAEC and CCCABC as a pdf here...
Canada-wide Day of Action for Child Care
November 30th, 2022
Celebrating and Supporting Educators
Download the Day of Action Information Sheet here...
We’re at a historic moment for child care. Promises by the BC and federal governments to build a quality $10aDay Child Care system are becoming reality. The number of life-changing $10aDay spaces is steadily increasing, as are fee reductions for families not yet in a $10aDay program. There is more to do! The next urgent step is to compensate professionals in the sector with a fair provincial WAGE GRID recognizing credentials and years of experience!
BC needs to recognize educators in child care programs as professionals with a fair, provincial, publicly funded wage grid NOW!
For the November 30 Day of Action, we’re calling on government to ensure all educators in child care programs:
- Are paid professional wages and benefits, based on a provincially funded wage grid, in line with their qualifications, experience and crucial role in society - just like K-12 teachers - to help solve the recruitment and retention problem.
- Have paid time dedicated to professional development and advancement of BC’s Early Learning Framework and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework.
- Are supported to enter the profession through tuition-free access to public post-secondary programs, student loan waivers and ongoing bursaries.
On November 30 across BC and Canada there will be many ways to celebrate educators and push for a fair wage grid. We encourage you to add your voice: create signs and post them on social media and tag #childcaredayofaction, hold an open house at your program and invite local politicians, give the educators in your program a special treat … lots of ideas, and we can provide t-shirts, buttons, stickers!
Download the Day of Action Information Sheet here...
Contact [email protected] or [email protected] for swag and more ideas
The Canada-wide Day of Action is supported by Child Care Now (Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada) www.childcarenow.ca sign the petition now.
Results of our 2022 Supporter Survey
The $10aDay campaign strives to advance our goal of an inclusive, equitable and accessible child care system in ways that reflect the values and culture of the system we are advocating for. This means we are committed to reconciliation, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As the BC and federal governments are now — finally! — beginning to implement their significant child care commitments, it is important that our advocacy works to include the diversity of BC families, children, and educators. We are committed to centring voices that have historically been excluded from our work and the broader BC women’s movement. We are taking concrete steps to include the lived experiences of families, children, and educators who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ and persons with disabilities.
As part of this commitment, we conducted a $10aDay Supporter Survey to better understand the extent to which $10aDay supporters reflect the diversity of BC families, children, and educators, and to identify supporters' priorities for making BC's child care system more inclusive.
Download the full survey results here.Read more