Families march for childcare
Oct 5, 2019
A brigade of families marched to Queen’s Park Elementary School Saturday morning in an effort to raise awareness for changes in the childcare industry.
Together, the Coalition of Child Advocates of B.C., Early Childhood Educators of B.C. and the Waitlisted Project partnered to launch a province-wide Stroller Brigade for Child Care.
Waitlisted Project founder and childcare advocate Amanda Burnett said the aim of the walk is to make federal campaigners aware that their political platform promises surrounding childcare matter.
While childcare is managed by the province, the federal government provides a portion of funding.
“We’re voting for childcare,” Burnett said. “Childcare matters to women, to children, to families, to the economy and to communities all across Canada.”
Being a stay-at-home parent is a choice, said Burnett, but parents who are forced to stay at home to look after their children is not.
“When you’re faced with zero options for childcare that is not a choice. That’s unemployed,” she said. “They’re just getting by because they do not have access to affordable quality childcare. And it needs to end.”
Burnett said Work B.C. averages early childhood educators’ wages at $16.95 an hour, a core reason why there’s a daycare shortage despite plenty of available space.
“Early childhood educators are looking after our country’s most vulnerable, most valuable population. And early childhood educators deserve better,” she said. “They are on their knees, every day, caring for our children: Wiping their noses, cleaning their dirty diapers, feeding them, caring for them, singing them songs and reading them stories. They deserve more than $16.95 an hour, they deserve more than long hours.”
Burnett said an excellent role model for childcare is Sweden, which has 90% coverage for their population. Places in B.C., she said, only have two per cent coverage for their populations.
“(That’s) not meeting the demand of … families in B.C.,” she said.
Burnett, who began lobbying for more affordable and accessible childcare with The Waitlisted Project, has now been invited to the provincial legislature.