(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
How to Reduce Parent Fees by an Average of 50% by December 2022
In July 2021 BC signed a $3.2 billion Bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government. In the Agreement the province promises to reduce average parent fees by 50% for regulated and funded child care for children aged 0-5 years. The BC government states that this will result in average parent fees of $21/day by December 2022.
The BC government has also committed to bring fees down to an average of $10aDay by March 31, 2026 – so it is essential that the approach used to meet the 50% reduction helps move child care towards the $10aDay system.
As outlined in the Bilateral Agreement, BC will use the existing Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI) to achieve these goals. Using this existing funding program should enable families in participating programs to receive an equitable reduction in their fees in a timely way and enable providers to use a funding source they are familiar with.
This interim step provides a critical opportunity for the government to introduce increased accountability measures that help providers move towards a public system. And, to begin to close the gap between current fees and $10aDay, the approach used should ensure that taxpayer funds are not used for private gain.
We recommend that BC begin to reduce fees by 50% by providing existing licensed child care programs that have participated in and met accountability requirements for the Child Care Operating Fund (CCOF), Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative and Wage Enhancement program for at least 2 years with increased CCFRI funding, if they agree to:
- Cap parent fees at current levels (with annual cost of living increases provided through CCOF/CCFRI)
- At a minimum, pay qualified Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) the legal minimum wage, (currently $15.20/hour) plus the Wage Enhancement ($2/hour, increasing to $4/hour by April 2022).
- Publicly post parent fees and ECE wages online and provide up-to-date fee and wage information to Child Care Resource & Referral (CCRR) centres.
- Submit financial records to government for full transparency
- Commit to no ‘extra fees’ for optional, exclusionary services
- Include children with extra support needs (with funding and support from Supported Child Development)
- Welcome all families and children including families receiving the Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB)
- Have no significant unresolved Health Department Licensing citations
Based on the Timelines in the Bilateral Agreement, the BC government should implement the 50% fee reduction in two phases:
Phase 1 (Now-December 2022)
Beginning no later than April 1 2022, government should increase funding through CCFRI to eligible programs sufficient to bring fees down by an average of 50%.
Government should also provide this increased level of CCFRI to new eligible programs that open during Phase 1 with fees set within provincial government guidelines .
For programs that chose not to participate in the 50% reduction program, government should continue to provide current levels of operating funds and families in these programs should remain eligible for ACCB.
Phase 2 (January 2023 - April 2026)
Programs should continue to receive the funds they received during Phase 1 until they transition into a $10aDay programs, with a cap on fees offset by public funding to cover cost-of-living increases in annual operating costs.
For programs that chose not to participate in the 50% reduction program or transition to $10aDay, government should continue to provide current levels of operating funds and families in these programs should remain eligible for ACCB.
 As recommended in the $10aDay Roadmap, programs that open without public capital funds and/or outside of a community plan, after a provincially established cut-off date, would not be guaranteed access to new operating funds.
Submission to Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services
$10aDay Child Care Recommendations for BC Budget 2022
September 30, 2021
The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC recommendations for BC Budget 2022 are to ensure the Bilateral Agreement is implemented quickly and effectively, with additional provincial investments to fulfill the 2020 election commitments, which include:
- Confirmation of the move of the Child Care Programs and Services Branch to the Ministry of Education effective April 1, 2022, along with provincial funding to regions and school districts to ensure a successful transition.
- Commitment of the resources required in the Ministry of Education to move child care from the current application-based process for creating new (non-profit, public, Indigenous) facilities to a capital planning and budgeting approach, as is done with schools.
- Creation of facilities more quickly and affordably with an immediate bulk purchase of custom-designed, high-quality modular child care buildings to be located on public land across the province.
- Prompt implementation of a province-wide publicly-funded competitive wage grid for positions within the child care sector.
- Provision of on-site school-age child care to meet community needs, either operated directly by school districts or through a partnership with non-profit organizations.
- Work with First Nations. Métis, Inuit Peoples to ensure Bill 41 and the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework are implemented and Indigenous leadership is meaningfully consulted where child care decisions impact Indigenous families on and off-reserve.
$10aDay: Affordable Childcare is Coming to BC
After decades of advocacy by communities across BC, the Province of BC and Government of Canada have announced an investment of $3.2 billion over five years in quality, affordable and universal childcare.
Motivated by the $10aDay campaign – a community response to BC’s childcare crisis developed by The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC – the funding aims to slash average daycare fees by 50 percent and add 12,500 affordable childcare sites across the province, all by December 2022.
Wait, we have a childcare crisis in Canada?
Canada has one of the best educational systems in the world – for kids over five. For kids under five, we have one of the worst systems in the developed nations in terms of quality and availability.
At the heart of it, childcare is expensive and limited. So much so that it’s common for parents to sign up their children for daycare before they’re born to ensure a spot. Others rely on family members or friends to look after their kids so they can work. Still others have no alternatives, and one of the parents has to quit their job or reduce their hours dramatically to stay home (it’s even harder for single parents, who don’t have this option). And even if parents can secure a spot in a nearby daycare, it’s often so expensive they have to take out loans or lines of credit to pay for it.
“We did a research study on affordable daycare a few years ago, and it was eye-opening. But when my child was born, that data became my reality,” says James Raymond, Vancouver Economic Commission’s Research manager. “I pay $40,000 annually for childcare for two children – that’s more than many tuitions. Discussing unaffordable, inaccessible daycare in a professional context is one thing, but when you live it personally you truly understand that it’s a vital thing that needs to be fixed.”
The childcare crisis isn’t new. Childcare has been unaffordable and inaccessible for decades – but it took a global pandemic to throw the situation in its harshest light, revealing that high-quality, affordable childcare is necessary not only for happy families, but also to keep the economy running.