From 2018-2021, BC’s government has taken bold steps to address the child care chaos. Finally, after 16 years of inaction on child care under previous governments, we've seen 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.
Now our efforts are focused on ensuring progress continues - especially as the pandemic has made it so clear how vital child care is for families and the economy. We are holding government accountable to deliver on their six 2020 election commitments for child care:
- Bring $10-a-day child care to more families
- Work towards universal access to before- and after-school care on school grounds
- Ensure Early Childhood Educators are a well-supported profession
- Move responsibility for child care to the Ministry of Education
- Protect child care in law
- Develop a New Child Care Capital Program
And, with the 2021 Bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement investing an additional $3.2 billion into BC child care (for 0-5 year olds) there are new commitments: an average 50% reduction in parent fees by December 2022, plus $10aDay fees and 30,000 new licensed spaces by 2026.
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 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 Recruitment and Retention Strategy, BC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) professionals are receiving a $2/hour wage enhancement (with an additional $2/hour paid out in April 2022) 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
The provincial government has provided funding for the creation of more than 26,000 new licensed spaces since 2018, prioritizing public partnerships (school districts, local governments, etc.) and non-profit organizations, along with grants to support planning processes in communities. Funding has also provided for: facility maintenance grants, moving unlicensed spaces into the licensed sector, and increased funding for young parent programs and children with additional support needs.
Government has also confirmed its commitment to Indigenous-led child care, and 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.