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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Campbell River Stroller Brigade

Childcare centres to hold Stroller Brigades in Campbell River

Brigades to encourage people to vote in the federal election with early care and learning in mind.

The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC with the Early Childhood Educators of BC and The Waitlisted Project are coordinating province-wide “Stroller Brigades for Childcare” to encourage people to vote in the upcoming Federal election on Oct. 21 with early care and learning in mind.

Childcare advocates around the province are holding Stroller Brigades on the weekend but tather than holding one large community-wide Stroller Brigade, Campbell River-area childcare centres are being encouraged to hold their own Stroller Brigades at their locations on Monday, Oct. 7. Cari’s Infant & Toddler Centre is holding its Stroller Brigade at 10:30 a.m. on Monday and is inviting anyone to join them.

Read the article here.

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New Westminster Stroller Brigade

Stroller Brigade hits New Westminster this weekend

Theresa McManus

New West Record   OCTOBER 3, 2019

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The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. is using the federal election as an opportunity to highlight the importance of child care funding.

The group is holding a Stroller Brigade for Child Care on Saturday, Oct. 5 in New Westminster. It aims to highlight the importance of maintaining the current federal child-care funding agreements (B.C. receives more than $50 million annual) and growing funding over time to help the province fully implement a $10aDay Child Care Plan.

“Stroller brigades are not your typical march or rally,” said Kate Spence, the parent of a toddler and a preschooler. “Stroller brigades are a joyful celebration of our children and a passionate demonstration by parents, grandparents and educators that child care shouldn’t be such an impossible struggle for young families or pay educators such low wages.”

New Westminster-Burnaby candidates have been invited to attend the local Stroller Brigade.

“The good news is that most of the major political parties have included child care commitments in their election platforms,” said Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the $10aDay Child Care Plan.

The New Westminster Stroller Brigade is on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at upper Hume Park (meet by the water park). Participants will walk down East Columbia Street and then march back along Kelly Street to the park’s playground. Details at the New Westminster Stroller Brigade page on Facebook.

Read the article here.

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Child Care a Federal Election Issue

B.C. parents demand to make child-care a vital federal election issue

BY NIKITHA MARTINS

Posted Oct 5, 2019

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A number of parents are hitting the streets armed with their strollers to voice their demand to make child-care more of a federal election issue.

The ‘Stroller Brigade’ is being planned for communities across the province, including New Westminster, Richmond and Vancouver Saturday morning.

“Child care funding is managed by the provinces, but a portion of that funding comes from the federal government. Together we need to ensure that those elected on October 21st support the accessible, affordable child care by protecting the $50 million BC now receives annually for child care – and committing to grow that amount over time,” the BCGEU stated in a news release.

The BCGEU will join The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, Early Childhood Educators of BC and The Waitlisted Project for the province-wide Stroller Brigade for Child Care.

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Langley Stroller Brigade

Langley march aims to make child care a federal election issue

The Stroller Brigade will be held Saturday at the Langley Events Centre

Oct. 4, 2019 

A stroller brigade will take to the streets of Langley this weekend with the goal of making child care a federal election issue.

The Stroller Brigade for Child Care is a peaceful local march happening in communities across British Columbia who want to address affordability, accessibility and quality of child care available.

The march in Langley will take place on Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre playground.

The idea of the march is to bring families together and talk about the significance of continued investment in early learning and child care, according to Alicia Rempel, facilitator for Langley Children Committee, an organizer of the event.

 

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Child Care in the Federal Election on CBC Radio

Listen here to Stephen Quinn from the Early Edition interview Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the $10aDay Plan, and Paul Kershaw, founder of Gen Squeeze.

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Stroller Brigades in Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon & Penticton

Stroller Brigades want attention on child care across B.C.

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Comox Valley Stroller Brigade

Comox Valley Stroller Brigade bringing childcare crisis to forefront

Comox Valley Record, October 1, 2019

Have you or someone you know been on a waitlist for childcare far longer than you care to admit? Does the lack of quality, affordable, accessible childcare have a negative impact on your life? Does your place of work suffer because current or future employees can’t find a space for their child?

These are just some of the impacts of the current childcare crisis in the Comox Valley. Many families go on multiple wait lists as soon as they find out they are expecting, only to be told there is a two year or more wait time before a space becomes available. Childcare programs report waiting lists of over 200 families for a 12-space program. Some childcare centres are operating at below capacity because they cannot find qualified early childhood educators to staff their programs.

This is the crisis and this is why we need to advocate for sustained funding and policies to address these issues.

On Oct. 5, more than 20 B.C. communities, including Courtenay, will be hosting Stroller Brigades for Child Care. Ahead of the federal election, families, educators and the public will be rallying for an end to this crisis. The Comox Valley event will take place Oct. 5 from 10-11 a.m., meeting at the Courtenay Airpark Café and walking to the Rotary Children’ s SkyPark

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