- Parent fees are too high, ranging from almost $800/month for preschoolers to over $1,000/month for younger children (2012 median).
- Too few regulated spaces – BC mothers can’t find or afford quality child care. Their labour force participation rates are second lowest in Canada.
- Too many families have no choice but to use unregulated care that’s not monitored for health and safety, or even illegal care—at times with tragic results.
Parents want – and children need – quality programs, which rely on well-educated staff. Yet BC’s Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) do not earn wages and benefits that reflect the value of their work, so recruiting and retaining qualified staff is an ongoing concern. Raising a child is a lot more expensive today than a generation ago. Parents are stressed and too many children are not getting the best possible start. Employers, communities and our economy are also affected.The BC Child Care Crisis
BC’s child care crisis is caused by weak government policies and low public investments.
Unlike schools, parks, libraries and other community services, child care receives very little public funding. Most of the costs are paid by parents.
In fact, Canada ranks LAST among developed nations on child care. We invest the least, have the lowest participation rates and the weakest family policies overall.
While Canada ranks last on child care, BC is even further behind most of the rest of the country:
- BC government spends less so fees are high and access is low.
- Mothers’ labour force participation is also low, and child and family poverty is high.
In response, the BC government introduced:
- Small monthly payment to families ($55 per child tax credit).
- Capital grants for new spaces – but not enough to keep pace with population growth.
Similarly, the federal government provides a monthly payment to families, the Child Care Benefit (CCB) – and has announced it proposes to invest $500 million in 2017-18 to support the establishment of a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care. Of this amount, $100 million would be for Indigenous child care and early learning on reserve.
None of these measures will solve BC’s child care crisis! They don’t make regulated child care more affordable or widely available. And they don’t promote quality by making a meaningful investment in the ECE workforce.
British Columbians get it. By a margin of 3 to 1, they confirm that government funding of child care services is better than providing cash to parents.