John Horgan's childcare promise suggests B.C. NDP is more eager to court progressive vote
In recent provincial elections, traditional B.C. NDP supporters have sometimes chafed over the party's conservatism.
In 2001, then leader Ujjal Dosanjh centred his campaign around a balanced budget and sound fiscal management. He was slaughtered.
In 2005, the opposition party focused again on balancing the books rather than investing in public transit. Then leader Carole James revived the party, but didn't form the government.
In 2009, the B.C. NDP ran a high-profile campaign against the carbon tax, which had been welcomed by many environmentalists. Another loss.
Then in 2013, then leader Adrian Dix refused to support a $10-per-day childcare program, upsetting some members of the party's base. Other social activists condemned the party platform for failing to address the affordable-housing crisis. Chalk up another B.C. NDP defeat.
Well, guess what? It's starting to appear as though Dix's successor, John Horgan, isn't going to be nearly as cautious in next year's provincial election campaign.
This week, the B.C. NDP leader endorsed a $10-per-day childcare program, which has been advocated by many municipalities, labour organizations, academics, and nonprofit groups across the province.
“After housing, child care is the second-highest cost facing B.C. families," Horgan said in a B.C. NDP news release. "Parents here are paying some of the highest child care fees in the country. Too many parents can’t find child care and spend years on waitlists."
The B.C. NDP announcement has been welcomed by former Vancouver school trustee Sharon Gregson, a tireless advocate for better childcare.
B.C. NDP promises child care for $10 a day
NDP leader John Horgan called the lack of affordable childcare in the province a crisis
CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2016 9:38 AM PT
B.C.'s NDP is promising a $10-a-day child-care program if they win the upcoming provincial election in May.
Leader John Horgan said the program would counteract years of under-funding by the B.C. Liberals.
"We can liberate women largely to participate fully in the economy and we can ensure employers that productivity is going to go up because there is a less concern about the patchwork child care that most families have to weave together," he said.
Horgan pointed out wait lists are reaching dire lengths, noting in Vancouver some daycares already have up to 3,000 children on their wait list.
"When people say they can't afford to have children, I think that's something we should act upon," he said.
A 2015 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study said B.C. businesses were losing as much as $600 million per year because parents were forced to abandon paid work because of a lack of affordable childcare.
Scott Cunningham, Reporter
B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan has pledged to address the province's lack of affordable child care if his party is elected next spring.
Horgan is promising a $10-per-day universal child care program for B.C. to correct what he says is a provincial crisis.
“Women are not getting back into the workforce after they have children because they can’t find a place for their children to be cared for,” Horgan said while speaking at a Vancouver daycare Wednesday. “It’s an impact on the economy, it’s an impact on families and quality of life, and we need to do something about that.”
By John Horgan in The South Asian Link, October 22, 2016
Leader, B.C. New Democrats
VICTORIA—You shouldn’t have to win the lottery to raise a child in British Columbia. But every year, quality, accessible child care gets closer to becoming an option for only the rich and the lucky.
Christy Clark thinks that’s acceptable. I disagree. That’s why this week I announced that a New Democrat government will invest in affordable, universal child care and work towards a $10-a-day child care program. For years, parents in this province have struggled to find quality child care that they can afford, and called for change from Christy Clark. Instead, the premier stood by while child care became exclusive, expensive and inaccessible.
Today, we’re facing a child care crisis. Christy Clark just wants to look the other way. I don’t. I know we need to do the right thing and act today – for our kids, for our families, and for our economy.
If you’re a parent in this province, chances are you’re already struggling with the affordability crisis that’s devastating family budgets, and forcing families out of regions like Metro Vancouver.
And if you’re a parent with a child in child care, chances are you pay more for that one bill than for any other expense, with the exception of housing costs.
NDP leader John Horgan proposes $10-a-day childcare if electedRead more
B.C.'s child-care squeeze 'so much more stressful than it has ever been'
Ironically, the 38-year-old single mom is employed in early childhood learning, spending her days taking care of other people’s kids until she can pick up her own — an eight-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter — in after-school care at 5:30 p.m.
Watch the clip from CTV Vancouver Island news here:
A $150,000 B.C. government online map that is supposed help families find needed child care spots is advertising spots that aren’t there, according to a CTV News investigation.
CTV News checked a sample of Vancouver daycares the site said had spaces for a two year old, and found only a fraction actually did – a setup that is sure to waste time for parents desperate for help, said child care advocate Sharon Gregson.
“The people who put the map together had good intentions but it’s hocus pocus,” said Gregson. “It’s trying to do something about our child care crisis without spending any money.
“It’s backwards, it’s out of date, and for parents it’s not going to be very helpful,” she said.
As Vancouver parents compete for limited spaces, the sky's the limit for every-rising daycare costs
By: Jen St. Denis Metro Published on Thu Aug 25 2016
Vancouver families are struggling with a supply and demand child care conundrum — too few spaces are pushing fees into the stratosphere.
Currently 75 per cent of families who need child care are going without, said Pam Preston, executive director of Westcoast Child Care Resources. The cost of housing is one factor limiting the creation of spaces, especially in home daycares.
But the competition for scarce spots also means that home daycare providers are able to charge higher and higher fees.
“There is a lot of opening and closing, and when they close they tend to move out of the city,” said Preston of both licensed home daycares (up to seven children) and unlicensed home daycares (up to two children).
“But the other trend we are seeing is that what is happening is that fees are going up.”
Fees are going up by around two per cent a year for all categories of child care, including licenced group daycare centres. For children aged 18 months to three years, fees for group centres in 2016 average $1,370 a month; for licence-not-required home daycares, the average was $$1,157 a month in 2015. Up to date figures are not yet available for licenced home daycares.
Those are average fees, but for Preston, the upper range of the fees are shocking: some parents are paying as much as $2,125 a month for a group centre, and as much as $1,910 for a home daycare. (Figures are for the 18 month to three years age range.)
In a city where daycare spots can be difficult to find, some Vancouver parents are paying thousands of dollars to hold unused spots for their children.
Mother of two Ingrid Irani is on maternity leave from her job as a registered nurse, and is already paying for daycare for her son Alexander though the six-month-old still spends his days at home.
Irani and her husband had saved some emergency money before she went on maternity leave and decided to use the funds to ensure her son has a daycare spot when she goes back to work.
“This is considered an emergency because it’s either we stress out later in January and try to scramble to find a full-time spot, or we just pay for it now, get it done and over with,” she said.
The family will end up paying about $6,000 for unused child care on top of the $900 they pay every month for their older son who is going to the daycare centre.
“I wish I could use the money for RESP or something more worthwhile but I don’t think my husband and I really have a choice,” Irani said. “It’s so hard to find infant daycares. It’s extremely hard.”