MEDIA RELEASE September 23, 2022
Child Care gets More Affordable in BC — Great News for Families
Promise made, promise kept. One year ago, BC signed the Canada-wide child care agreement promising to significantly reduce fees by December 2022. Today, the BC government delivered on that promise.
For families with young children, child care fees are often their second biggest expense after housing. The announcement today is a major step toward ensuring all families who choose child care pay no more than $10aDay. “This is a welcome investment in BC families and BC’s economy,” said Researcher Lynell Anderson.
Publicly funded fee reductions for the families of infants and toddlers in centre-based care are increasing from $350 to $900 per month — and the fee reduction for 3–5-year-olds in centre-based care is increasing from $100 to $545 per month. There are similar reductions for families using family and multi-age care. “This fee reduction is meaningful for our family” confirms mother of two young children, Sara Langlois. “It will significantly reduce the pressure on our family’s finances.”
Today’s announcement of increased affordability for families is in addition to the expansion of $10aDay to 12,500 spaces across the province.
But too many families are still struggling to find a child care space — affordable or not. So, it’s more good news that capital funding is available to expand non-profit, public, and Indigenous child care programs. “We recommend a planned approach, with child care included in all schools and public buildings” confirms $10aDay spokesperson Sharon Gregson.
However, the biggest child care challenge right now is the recruitment and retention of qualified early childhood educators. “The $4/hour publicly funded wage enhancement is certainly helpful but needs to transition to a fair, province-wide wage grid, with benefits, as part of improved compensation for early childhood care and education professionals,” said Emily Mlieczko of ECEBC.
We applaud today’s announcement and look forward to ongoing progress toward full implementation of the $10aDay child care system BC wants and needs.
Send a message to BC’s Minister of Education and Child Care @JM_Whiteside telling her we need school-age child care in every elementary school, for every family who chooses it.
This week, federal, provincial and territorial first ministers, with primary responsibility for early learning and child care, gathered in British Columbia to discuss progress made in the first year since the signing of the first Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care agreement. Open letters from Child Care Now and the Canadian Child Care Federation urge ministers responsible for early learning and child care to make the child care workforce crisis a top priority in the coming year by developing a comprehensive workforce strategy that addresses compensation and working conditions of the Canada-wide child care workforce.
(sent in advance of the Ministers’ meeting in Burnaby, BC on July 12, 2022)
As government makes good on its child care commitments, we want to advance the $10aDay child care system in ways that reflect the values, needs and priorities of our supporters.
Now more than ever, we need your help to keep the government on the right track by ensuring our advocacy is informed by the diverse perspectives of BC children, families and educators, including those who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ and persons with disabilities.
For the first time we are conducting a short survey of our supporters. This survey asks demographic questions while an upcoming second survey will help us better understand your lived experiences. Together, they will help us ensure all families are included in BC’s new child care system. You can learn why we're asking specific demographic questions here.
Take the survey and enter a raffle for one of five $100 cash e-transfers. You'll be helping to:
- Share the priorities of children, families, and educators
- Identify current systemic inequities in BC’s child care system
- Make recommendations to inform our advocacy strategy
BC is at a moment of intense disruption and change, from the pandemic to the climate emergency, to the affordability and opioid crises. In response to this moment, we must seek out intersections between child care and other issues and movements, and look for actions that can simultaneously advance multiple goals.
In that spirit, we've written a policy note that identifies five key intersections between the issues of child care, the environment, and climate change, and provides 10 recommendations for concrete action by the BC government.
Our aim is to help hasten BC’s transition to both universal child care and a clean economy in ways that improve the health and well-being of children, families, educators, and communities.
BC Budget 2022 puts $10aDay Child Care Back on Track!
New Federal Funding cuts parent fees in half and expands $10aDay spaces – but more action needed on educator wages to solve recruitment and retention crisis and ensure growth of high-quality programs.
In a turnaround from last year’s “lacklustre” budget, BC Budget 2022 adds $419 million in new child care funding next year – a 50% increase in BC’s annual base funding of $800 million, mainly thanks to new federal funds. Families across the province will benefit from lower parent fees and more licensed spaces, including an expansion of $10aDay spaces.
Budget 2022 also extends the $4/hour Wage Enhancement to cover more early childhood educators (ECEs), and expands access to ECE post-secondary education. “These funds are welcome” confirms Emily Gawlick, Executive Director of Early Childhood Educators of BC “but to solve the serious recruitment and retention crisis in the sector the province must develop and implement a competitive provincial wage grid for early childhood educators.”
“BC Budget 2022 includes action on affordability and access that families are desperate for” observes Sharon Gregson, Spokesperson for BC’s $10aDay Child Care Campaign. “It’s also good news that child care is moving into the Ministry of Education – but more must be done to fairly compensate educators for their important work”.
With the new federal funding in place, BC Budget 2022 child care highlights include:
- Affordability - 50% reduction in parent fees for children under age six, resulting in average fees of approximately $20 per day by the end of 2022. Fee reductions for preschool and school-age care by the beginning of the 2023/24 school year. Expansion of $10aDay spaces, reaching a total of 12,500 by the end of 2022.
- Access – 30,000 new spaces within 5 years, 40,000 within 7 years, plus more school-age spaces.
- Indigenous-led child care - funding to support Aboriginal Head Start and engagement, community planning, and capacity building with Indigenous stakeholders.
This Roadmap offers a service delivery framework aligned with the $10aDay Child Care Plan. It provides a level of policy detail required to create a universally accessible, quality system for families who choose child care for their infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children — a public system in which early childhood educators are respected professionals and child care comes to the table as a strong and equal partner with the K–12 education system.
The future of child care as a business in BC: $10aDay Plan Recommendations
BC is on the road to significant and systemic child care change. Building on broad public support, both the federal and BC governments have made substantial commitments to move from the longstanding, failed, market-based approach to a high quality, inclusive and publicly-funded $10aDay child care system. (1)
The purpose of this blog post is to share information about how the $10aDay system can be achieved - with public accountability for the increase in taxpayer funding - while acknowledging the hard work and investment of current child care owners, who are asking: “How does my business fit into the $10aDay Plan?”
We outline recommendations to the BC government (2) that give child care businesses - like all child care operators - a range of options to consider and choose from as they decide about their place in BC’s new child care system.
How does my business fit into the $10aDay Plan?
First, we must acknowledge that the child care sector, like many sectors, is facing significant disruption and change. From the pandemic to climate disasters to the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis, there’s a lot on people's plates right now, and it can be challenging to think about what the future holds.
With that in mind, what follows is a high-level overview of how child care businesses can find a home in the $10aDay Plan.
The $10aDay Plan includes 3 key recommendations:
- Build on existing strengths by welcoming in all current licensed child care programs - for-profit, non-profit, public, Indigenous, family, multi-age & centre-based – who want to participate in the new system. These programs are needed and valued, and should have the opportunity to receive fair and equitable public funding with accountability measures that respect their diversity and support their transition into a publicly managed $10aDay system.
- Create new non-profit, public and Indigenous child care programs. (1) Given that there are currently licensed spaces for only 20% of BC children, over time, this means that a significant proportion of child care programs and facilities will be publicly owned, managed and/or delivered—all key elements of effective child care systems.
- Enable current child care operators to provide licensed programs outside the $10aDay system if they prefer. They would still be required to meet licensing standards but would not receive new $10aDay public funding. Rather, operators could maintain 2021 levels of provincial funding (CCOF, CCFRI and WE) and, working within current accountability requirements, determine the level of fees charged and wages paid. Parents in their programs will continue to be eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit.
The detailed $10aDay Roadmap includes a range of options for child care operators and government to consider as they work to resolve the challenges associated with bringing existing centres located in privately-owned facilities into the new system.
Suggested options include:
- For privately owned centres without mortgages or leases at market rates: On the condition that the space remains available for child care use over the long term, these programs could move to $10aDay sites on comparable terms as those in public/non-profit facilities.
- For privately owned centres with outstanding mortgages or leases at market rates: Government could enter into negotiations with interested operators (3) to resolve how they may become eligible to operate as $10aDay sites. Options for consideration and negotiation include, but are not limited to:
- The centre agrees to operate as a $10aDay site at the same level of public funding received by programs in public facilities, with the same accountability requirements. The centre remains privately-owned, covering any remaining capital costs (mortgages, lease agreements) through other sources.
- Government assumes temporary responsibility for the lease, or rents space in the privately owned centre, until a publicly owned centre is available or the lease expires.
- Government assumes the remaining mortgage, acquiring the related share of public equity in the centre.
- If the owner wishes to sell the centre, government could purchase it and bring it into public ownership.
The $10aDay Plan also includes licensed family and multi-age child care that operates in homes that will remain privately-owned. We recommend an equitable funding formula which is fair for both taxpayers and these home-based operators.
We welcome discussions between government and interested child care operators about additional or modified options for consideration, with the understanding that all options are consistent with two fundamental principles: (1) they are fair to taxpayers and operators, and (2) they ensure that public funds are used to create public assets.Read more