Summary of priorities for BC’s negotiations with the federal government regarding significant new child care funding as committed in Federal Budget 2021
The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC strongly recommend an evidence-based approach that explicitly rejects fragmented, one-off, market-based initiatives, replacing them with system building strategies that ensure public funds serve the public good and build public assets. This approach is consistent with the accountability requirements incorporated in Federal Budget 2021 and detailed in the RoadMap for $10aDay child care in BC.
BC requires two parallel paths for system-building, both of which will receive equitable funding. The first path welcomes in current providers who want to participate in the new, publicly-managed $10aDay system. They will be funded through Partnership Agreements with built-in accountability requirements for parent fees, ECE compensation and full inclusion of BC’s children and families in all their diversities.
The second path outlines the process for creating new $10aDay programs that are, as much as possible, publicly delivered. Given that there are currently licensed spaces for only 20 per cent of BC children this ensures that, over time, a significant majority of child care facilities and programs will be publicly owned, managed and/or delivered - all key elements of effective child care systems
To achieve these two parallel paths, the BC government must expedite the transfer of child care to the Ministry of Education, as they have system building experience and the tools required to build a new public system.
We also recommend that the BC government confirm the following priorities in their negotiations with the federal government:
- All new child care spaces supported with public funds will be in the non-profit or public sectors. An immediate end to the ineffective and reactive New Spaces Fund grant program, replacing it with a capital budget and plan for expansion of licensed child care programs province-wide, including public infrastructure projects and the promised modular program.
- The expedited licensing of classrooms, through a specific protocol, without undermining quality, to support the rapid expansion of school-age child care programs in schools - spaces already designed for young learners.
- For current programs, a planned transition to $10aDay child care in every BC community with operating funds (using an equitable, transparent funding formula) and quarterly, prioritized expansion targets. The transition starts with programs located in publicly and non-profit owned facilities, where taxpayers will not assume the mortgage costs of privately-owned assets.
- A competitive provincial ECE wage grid and recruitment program where qualified ECEs earn a minimum of $26/hour (one-year college certificate) and $29/hour (two-year college diploma).
- Significantly increased access to public post-secondary ECE programs across BC:
- Rapid approval of and funding support for new early childhood education programs in public post-secondary institutions
- Rapid expansion of and funding support for on-line, part time, distance education and work/study offerings.
- Free tuition and/or student-debt relief for students completing ECE programs.
We put these recommendations forward in full support of the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples to design, develop, and deliver early care and learning services that meet their needs. We support the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework and acknowledge that Indigenous communities have and may evolve their services in directions other than those outlined in the Roadmap, creating models to learn from and strive for.
We continue to call on Canada and BC to honour their obligations to consult with Indigenous Peoples as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework. Any changes to the delivery of Indigenous early childhood education must respect the obligations stated in Bill 41– 2019: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act — and be undertaken with Indigenous leadership and governing bodies. And, governments must ensure that Indigenous Peoples have the resources required to develop and deliver early care and learning services.
For more details on CCCABC recommendations, please see the Roadmap for Child Care in BC