In just over a year, BC’s still-new government has taken bold steps to address the child care chaos. Finally, after 16 years of inaction on child care under previous governments, we’re now seeing substantial improvements. Based largely on our $10aDay Plan, government is lowering parent fees, raising educator wages and education, creating more licensed spaces, and more.
They couldn’t have done this work without you! Thanks to your advocacy – sharing your stories, posting on social media, writing letters, leading rallies and parades – all of our elected officials now know how important quality, affordable child care is for BC children, families, communities and our economy.
Here are highlights of the BC government’s steps to date:
Lowering Parent Fees
Families of more than 50,000 young children in licensed child care across the province are saving up to $350 per month under the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative. Plus, the new Affordable Child Care Benefit is providing additional affordability relief for families with annual incomes up to $111,000, including eliminating parent fees for most families earning less than $45,000 annually with children under age 3 in licensed child care.
Raising Educator Wages & Education
Under the new Recruitment and Retention Strategy, BC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) professionals will receive 2 wage lifts over the next 2 years (each at $1 per hour, or approximately $2,000 annually) plus a range of enhanced education supports, including expanded bursaries, paid practicums, professional development opportunities and more post-secondary ECE spaces.
Creating More Licensed Spaces
Capital funding is now available to support the creation of a total of 24,000 new licensed spaces over the next 3 years, prioritizing public partnerships (school districts, local governments, etc.), along with grants to support planning processes in communities. Funding is also available to enhance facility maintenance grants, move unlicensed spaces into the licensed sector, expand options for families working non-standard hours and increase funding for young parent programs and children with additional support needs.
Government has also confirmed its commitment to Indigenous-led child care, and has initiated an expansion of Aboriginal Head Start both on- and off-reserve.
With these first steps, key elements of the $10aDay Child Care Plan are now in place. We’re on our way to quality affordable child care in BC!
Yet, we all know that BC’s child care chaos can’t be solved overnight. Together, we need to keep government on track, ensuring that every step leads in the right direction.