Parents Feel Squeezed...

Parents feel squeezed by child-care costs. Here’s where they want help

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Where do the Parties Stand on Child Care

Although household income is on the rise in Canada, many families are still feeling strapped for cash. Here is a look at the promises the major parties have made to ease the financial burdens of raising a family.

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Port Alberni Stroller Brigade

Port Alberni ‘Stroller Brigade’ marches for child care

Oct. 7, 2019

Port Alberni parents, guardians and early childhood educators joined others across British Columbia in a Stroller Brigade for Child Care last weekend.

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Dozens gathered at Wallace Street and Wood Avenue on Saturday, Oct. 5 before walking down to Gord Johns’ campaign office on 10th Avenue to send a message to the federal government that child care is an important issue for the community as a whole. Port Alberni was one of 21 communities across the province taking part in the brigade, bringing attention to the importance of maintaining current federal child care funding agreements—and growing them over time.

The message is especially important to get out during a federal election, explained organizer and educator Carrie Nahorney.

“[Funding] is decided through the province, how it’s going to be spent,” she explained. “But a huge chunk of this money comes federally.”

British Columbia, she said, currently receives $50 million annually from the federal government for child care. But educators are hoping to grow this in order to help B.C. fully implement the popular “$10 a Day” Child Care Plan.

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Universal childcare system is crucial

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Federal Election Agenda

B.C. parents aim to put child care on the federal election agenda

Ian Holliday, CTV News Vancouver
Published Saturday, October 5, 2019

Parents rallied in 21 communities across B.C. Saturday to draw attention to an issue they want to see discussed on the campaign trail during this federal election: child care.

Dozens of people gathered for the Vancouver rally at Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in Yaletown.

Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., told CTV News Vancouver the rallies aimed to convince federal parties to -- at minimum -- maintain current levels of federal funding for the B.C.'s current $10 per day child care pilot program.

"We're really glad to say that three of the four major political parties have stepped up and made additional commitments beyond that $50 million," Gregson said. "We want child care to be visible and for whoever is elected on Oct. 21 to know we'll be holding them accountable for their child care promises."

Kate Spence attended the rally with her daughter, but she said even non-parents should be in favour of subsidized child care.

"Even if you're not a parent, your life will be affected by this," Spence said. "This is keeping people out of the workforce on all levels -- hospitality, tourism, you know, I know an anesthesiologist who's struggling to find care right now."

With additional investment from the federal government, programs like B.C.'s could be introduced and expanded across the country, Gregson said.

"We know there are tens of thousands of families across B.C. now that are benefiting from lower fees because of investments the provincial government is making, and if the federal government steps up, we know that that $10-a-day reality will be more widespread."

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Video: Families in Langley

Langley march calls for affordable daycare

Stroller Brigade on Saturday was one of several such demonstrations in B.C.

Oct. 5, 2019

About two dozen parents and kids marched around the Langley Events Centre Saturday afternoon, carrying signs that read, “Kids matter/Invest in child care now,” “we want $10/day child care,” and “vote child care.

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Organizer Alicia Rempel was pleased by the turnout.

“It’s our first year,” she noted.

“It’s not an issue that has typically received much attention.”

There were other stroller brigades in other B.C. communities Saturday, all lobbying for affordable and accessibility child care.

“We would like to see a national child care strategy,” Rempel told the Langley Advance Times.

 

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Penticton Stroller Brigade

Families march for childcare

Oct 5, 2019

A brigade of families marched to Queen’s Park Elementary School Saturday morning in an effort to raise awareness for changes in the childcare industry.

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Together, the Coalition of Child Advocates of B.C., Early Childhood Educators of B.C. and the Waitlisted Project partnered to launch a province-wide Stroller Brigade for Child Care.

Waitlisted Project founder and childcare advocate Amanda Burnett said the aim of the walk is to make federal campaigners aware that their political platform promises surrounding childcare matter.

While childcare is managed by the province, the federal government provides a portion of funding.

“We’re voting for childcare,” Burnett said. “Childcare matters to women, to children, to families, to the economy and to communities all across Canada.”

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Stroller Brigades in BC

'Stroller brigades' across B.C. make plea for national child-care strategy

Maryse Zeidler · CBC News · Posted: Oct 05, 2019

Parents and their supporters in 21 communities across British Columbia rallied on Saturday morning to call for a national child-care strategy. 

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The protesters, many of them with strollers in tow, want the federal government to provide affordable, universal child care for parents across the country. 

"Everybody depends on somebody who depends on child care," said Sharon Gregson at the rally in Vancouver. She is an event organizer and provincial spokesperson for the $10 a day child-care plan in B.C.

"It's part of keeping our society functioning, people in the workforce and growing a healthy next generation."

Marches were held in Vancouver, Kelowna, Penticton, Campbell River and other communities around the province to draw attention to the issue during the lead-up to the upcoming federal election on Oct. 21.

The protesters specifically called for $10 a day child care and for better wages for early childhood educators. 

Gregson says there are 575,000 children under 12 in B.C., but only 100,000 licensed child-care spaces. Child care is the second highest expense for families after housing, she added. 

"We know that we need more spaces in British Columbia," Gregson said.

"But more than just spaces. We need them to be high quality, we need them to be affordable and we need to have well-paid staff to work in those programs."

Gregson and other members of her group commended the provincial NDP government for its role in supporting affordable childcare in B.C., but they said it's time for the federal government to do its part.

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Kelowna Stroller Brigade

Kelowna Stroller Brigade marches for affordable and accessible childcare

A group of enthusiastic families and childcare workers gathered today at the Parkinson Rec Centre to raise awareness ahead of the federal election.

Armed with signs, balloons and whistles, the group marched all the way to the Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market, stopping on the Highway 97 overpass to wave their signs at passing motorists.

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The Stroller Brigade organizers are hoping that their march will make childcare visible as an important election issue. Although child care funding is managed by the provinces, a portion of that funding comes from the federal government.

NDP candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola Joan Phillip, and Green Party candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country Travis Ashley attended the march in support of affordable and accessible childcare.

“Together we need to ensure that those elected on October 21 support the $10 a Day Plan by protecting the $50 million BC now receives annually for child care – and committing to grow that amount over time,” said Childhood Connections.

The two candidates that attended spoke about their support for making improvements to childcare in the province.https://www.kelownanow.com/watercooler/news/news/Kelowna/Kelowna_Stroller_Brigade_marches_for_affordable_and_accessible_childcare%C2%A0/

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Squamish Stroller Brigade

Parents and tots protest for affordable childcare in Squamish

Stroller brigade through downtown joins 20 communities’ plea

Keili Bartlett   Squamish Chief   OCTOBER 5, 2019

It’s a sunny Saturday in Squamish, and there are more strollers than usual being pushed through downtown.

On Oct. 5, around 50 parents — and at least 25 kids — formed a peaceful protest to call for improving childcare in Squamish. They joined 19 other B.C. communities who hosted stroller brigades for the cause.

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When it’s time for Serra Boten, the organizer behind Squamish’s brigade, to speak, she’s running after her young child. The group chuckles when she apologizes and quips, “I need childcare.” Even though the other parents laugh, it’s a serious issue in Squamish.

Several parents spoke at the event, including Kareena Harwood. A local mom with another one on the way, Harwood is also an early childhood educator (ECE).

“I can’t return to work, because there’s not space for my child. If I did find space, it is more than my paycheque. We need not only quality care, we need people who are qualified to care for your wonderful, lovely children — but we also need to pay rent and we can’t,” she told the crowd, calling for a living wage. “If I leave the workforce, that is eight of you that lose your care.”https://www.squamishchief.com/news/local-news/parents-and-tots-protest-for-affordable-childcare-in-squamish-1.23967952

Mayor Karen Elliott and Coun. John French were among the marching protestors, and addressed the collected crowd, calling for action from the provincial government.

Elliott shared her own concerns about daycare, recalling when she was first elected to council, but didn’t have daycare options during council meetings.

"We know the province is testing their $10-a-day daycare plan. We know that trial goes until March," Elliott told the protestors. "This is the time to write to the minister, to your MLA, to your premier and say 'Please secure the $10-a-day daycare plan in the 2020 budget.'" 

She also recommended writing to federal parties and election candidates to support the program.

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