While the final seat count is not yet firm, one thing is clear - the majority of British Columbians voted for substantial new public investments in child care to:
- Make child care fees affordable
- Ensure quality child care is widely available
Both the NDP and Greens made significant platform commitments to do just that.
The child care crisis made headlines during the election campaign and most voters rejected the status quo offered by the BC Liberals. They know that the crisis will not go away without immediate, decisive action.
So, BC families are counting on the NDP and Greens to find common ground and make this one of their top issues for cooperation. And, they are counting on the BC Liberals to support action to solve the current child care chaos.
We are ready, willing and able to share our expertise with all parties in the expectation that they will cooperate to build the quality, affordable child care system that British Columbia’s families so clearly want and need.
With no new public funds, BC Liberals Expect Child Care Providers to Reduce Parent Fees - Cut Caregiver Wages
The BC Liberals say they will create 8,700 more child care spaces by 2020. To make child care more affordable for families, they expect providers to lower parent fees - on their own, with no new public funding. This means that the BC Liberals support cuts to caregiver wages, already at poverty levels. Or, it means they have a secret plan to cut child care quality standards. Or both.
When asked about affordable child care on CBC Radio’s May 4th “On the Coast” program, the BC Liberal candidate repeated her party’s claim that parent fees will go down as more spaces are created. But 4,300 new child care spaces have been added since 2014, and parent fees have increased by 5%!
Like most human services, staffing costs account for the majority of child care program budgets. Without adequate public funding to meet current quality standards, parent fees are high and caregiver wages are low.
The implications of this reality are clear. If we aren’t prepared to sacrifice quality in child care programs, then lower parent fees will only be achieved with higher public funding. Both the BC NDP and the BC Greens have committed new funds in their platforms for the specific purpose of reducing parent fees.
The BC Liberals have no new funds to address affordability. Therefore, they owe it to BC families – and child care providers and caregivers – to be clear that their expectation of lower parent fees can only be achieved by lowering the quality of child care programming. Given that BC’s quality standards are already below international benchmarks, this means that the BC Liberals are prepared to put the health and safety of our young children at risk.
When I answered the phone, I thought we’d hit the jackpot. An open daycare space in Vancouver at a reasonable price? Amazing!
Not the best location, but we could make it work. After all, it had been months of researching, making calls and applying for waitlists. And waiting. And waiting.Read more
The story of my family feels typically Vancouver. My wife and I are young professionals who, while not originally from this city, are hoping to stay here. But we’re not sure we will.Read more
Media Release May 2, 2017 Statement on Child Care in Schools:
The recent Supreme Court ruling on classroom size and composition means that there will now be more teachers and smaller classes in BC schools. That’s great news! But, as a result, recent news stories indicate that some school-based child care programs are being shut out of their existing space in schools to meet the increased demand for classrooms. Once again, the BC Liberal government failed to prioritize and plan for the needs of BC families in these child care programs.Read more
Here's our response to two common questions about making access to affordable, quality child care a reality in BC.Read more
Child Care in BC today is in chaos. Sky high parent fees. Spaces for only 20% of children. Poorly paid caregivers leaving the field.
The broadly supported $10aDay Child Care Plan is the made-in-BC solution. It’s based on the best global evidence that highlights the need for public funding to lower parent fees, increase the number of licensed spaces and raise caregiver wages and education.
Below we examine each major party’s 2017 election platform to determine how they align with the $10aDay Plan. We’re looking for concrete, costed and accountable action in all 3 areas – parent fees, licensed spaces, caregiver wages and education.
With 10 year federal funding now confirmed, we’re also looking for a vision and long-term strategy for achieving high quality, affordable child care for all who need and want it.
The differences in the party platforms are striking! Help BC families now:
- Share this information on Facebook & Twitter.
- Join our Thunderclap campaign to send a clear message that on May 9th, we'll be voting to make affordable, quality child care a reality in BC.
- Tell your MLA candidates how much child care means to you.
- Encourage friends and family to vote.
I had some sense that finding child care would be difficult, so at the very beginning of my pregnancy I started calling everywhere. It was very stressful to be pregnant be told that there was no space. Nobody was able to tell me there would be a space. I just heard “Maybe,” “You’re on the waitlist,” “You never know.” I didn’t know if I could go back to work.Read more
12 Flawed Child Care Statements by the Fraser Institute:
Summary of Rebuttal from Quebec Economist Pierre Fortin
Fortin examines the 12 statements made by the Fraser Institute (FI) in a recent assessment of Quebec’s child care program. Fortin finds their underlying arguments are so flawed that the publication is “an affront to the standards promised by the Fraser Institute’s website” and “a policy analysis disaster.”
Fortin’s critique of the FI report incorporates a broad range of up-to-date, peer-reviewed research and public reports that confirm the multiple benefits of Quebec’s child care system to date. He also identifies areas requiring ongoing policy attention. Specifically, the Quebec child care system:
- “… Had a large, significant and persistent impact on the labour supply of mothers … comparable to ... similar comprehensive reforms in countries such as Norway, Spain and Germany.” These findings were confirmed by three teams of labour economists, who, working independently, produced peer-reviewed studies published in reputable scientific journals. Also, there has been no meaningful reduction in fathers’ labour force participation.
- Provides economic benefits that outweigh the system costs, when all relevant impacts are considered. The public costs are similar to the OECD average (0.6% of GDP), yet below the international recommendation of 1% of GDP.
- Has achieved good quality programming in the early childhood centres (called CPE in French) which serve 1/3 of children. CPEs “deliver positive cognitive, health and behavioural results” and reduce “vulnerability of children of all income classes. These standards need to be extended to the rest of the system (licensed family-based caregivers and for-profit centres). Providing consistently high quality programs across the system would improve the outcomes for children in all types of care. It would also address the fact that while there is no wait time for a child care space in general, there are waiting lists for CPEs.
- Could use its surplus funds (net economic benefits) to strengthen quality and reach even more low-income families. Including low-income families in child care programs is challenging as they are less likely to be in the workforce and, when they are working, to use child care programs. But trying to target only disadvantaged families would be less effective and more costly overall. A universal approach generates surplus funds that can be used to strengthen quality and reach disadvantaged families at no net public cost.
Throughout 16 years in government, the BC Liberals could have chosen to make quality child care available and affordable across the province. Instead, they allowed the crisis to grow, particularly over the last four years. While parent fees skyrocketed, the BC Liberal Government consistently underspent their child care budget. They secured only 4,300 of the 13,000 new spaces promised by 2020, leaving 80% of BCs 570,000 children with no access to child care. Yet, the BC Liberals election platform currently suggests they’ll keep building another 8,000 (or 9,000) unaffordable spaces, which doesn’t even keep pace with population growth, in order to reach their old 2020 goal.
Standing in stark contrast, the $10aDay Child Care Plan’s proposed implementation schedule creates 22,500 new spaces by 2020, serving 30,000 more children and making child care affordable for 45,000 families.Read more