Families have been Waiting for 16 Years
Throughout 16 years in government, the BC Liberals could have chosen to make quality child care available and affordable across the province. Instead, they allowed the crisis to grow, particularly over the last four years. While parent fees skyrocketed, the BC Liberal Government consistently underspent their child care budget.
Christy Clark and the BC Liberals now say they will commit $1 billion towards child care in their Throne Speech, creating 60,000 new spaces over four years.
This would have been wonderful news at any time over the last 16 years. Families with young children have struggled through a crippling shortage of licensed child care spaces and sky high parent fees, too often resorting to unregulated care with no monitoring or safety standards. And BC’s Early Childhood Educators have been undervalued, earning poverty-level wages.
Since 2011, tens of thousands of parents, grandparents, and supporters have called on government to address these concerns by implementing the $10aDay Child Care Plan. Throughout that time, including during the recent election, Premier Clark and her Ministers dismissed the child care crisis facing families.
Now, for the first time ever in BC history, the three main political parties have all acknowledged the child care chaos experienced by BC families with young children and made substantive commitments for which we will hold them accountable. We have already analyzed both the BC NDP and BC Green Party commitments on child care and find that they match or are closely aligned with the evidence-based $10aDay Plan. However, reports of today’s announcement by the BC Liberal Party raise several questions, including:
- In 2013 the BC Liberals committed to creating 13,000 new spaces by 2020. To date, they’ve only added 4,300. How will they create 60,000 new spaces in the next four years?
- BC’s current child care subsidy system is broken. Full subsidy rates do not come close to covering the actual cost of care. Expanding the subsidy system opens the door to even more fee increases. And, the subsidy system is administratively costly. Capping parent fees is the only way to make child care affordable and inclusive for families. How will the BC Liberals ensure that child care is actually affordable for families, and for government?
- The BC Liberals do not mention workforce development, yet recruiting and retaining well-qualified and fairly-paid Early Childhood Educators is key to achieving quality child care. How will the BC Liberals ensure that new spaces are appropriately staffed?