Poll: Support for B.C. child care moves, but parents still struggling
Zak Vescera / June 13, 2019
British Columbians support recent government investments in child care but are still in serious need of affordable public spaces, according to a new poll.
An online survey of 800 adults, including 400 parents, conducted by Research Co. indicates 76 per cent of British Columbians want the province to create more affordable child care spaces.
“It continues to show decision-makers in government that there’s public appetite for them to continue to move on child care,” said Sharon Gregson, spokeswoman for lobby group $10aDay Child Care Plan, which sponsored the poll.
In 2018, the NDP announced an investment of $1.3 billion in child care over the next three years, more than double what the previous government invested.
They’ve also piloted 53 child care “prototype” sites where care is provided at just $10 a day, a rate they have pledged to eventually implement provincewide.
Sixty-four per cent of parents surveyed said the province’s actions on child care to date had already had a positive impact.
B.C.’s child care spending per capita is still among the lowest in Canada, and some respondents said the cost — which can surpass $1200 a month for a young child — and lack of space is putting them under intense financial pressure.
In areas like Vancouver, which is short 16,274 child care spaces according to city data, even finding a space can be difficult. The poll suggests more than 60 per cent of parents waited three months or more to find a child care space — which is likely why 70 per cent of parents said their re-entry to the workforce was delayed.
“It’s a bit of a mixed bag,” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. “Some parents are reacting very well to the changes, and others are saying they’re still waiting a very long time to find space for their kids.”
Less than 20 per cent B.C. Liberal, NDP and Green voters felt the government was already spending enough on child care, and 42 per cent of NDP voters said childcare spending was “a priority.”
“You could call it a non-partisan issue,” said Gregson. “It affects all families, no matter where they live, who they vote for, or even their economic status.”
Canseco says it’s a clear sign the NDP needs to continue its planned child care investments, citing an economic reality where all parents have to work to support a household.
“I think there was a misguided effort by the previous government to say ‘kids belong with their parents’ like it’s 1950,” said Canseco. “It’s a completely different ball game now.”
The poll was conducted May 9 to May 12, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Results reflecting the views of parents only have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 per cent.