The research is clear. The quality of children’s early experiences MATTER. Good quality helps all children thrive. But, poor quality environments can do harm.
Today, too many young BC children do not have the opportunity to participate in high quality child care. Across the province more than 30% enter Kindergarten vulnerable in one or more areas.
The $10aDayPlan offers a quality early care and learning experience for every child whose family wants or needs it. Children will benefit from programs that respect them for who they are today and help prepare them for who they will become tomorrow.
"For Canadian families, high-quality, affordable child care is more than a convenience—it's a necessity." (Federal Budget 2016)
Today, the cost of regulated child care takes more out of the take home pay of employed parents than taxes. Many have no option but to leave the workforce or use unregulated care. Although women typically sacrifice their careers and financial stability when child care is not available or affordable, this stress takes a toll on the whole family.
British Columbians understand the widespread challenges facing families with young children today. That’s why 66% think that government funding for child care should support most families, not just those who are poor.
And, whether in the paid labour force or not, all parents will have the option of enrolling in a full day or part time program that supports their child’s early care and learning.
With access to affordable, quality child care, more BC mothers will be able to enter or return to BC’s labour force.
They will be able to move from part-time or casual work to full time jobs.
The Plan will also provide new and better careers for Early Childhood Educators, who are overwhelmingly female, often racialized, and have been traditionally underpaid.
Women will be better able to support their families, put their skills and talents to work and fully participate in their communities. Their pay cheques will go further and many will move out of poverty.
The Plan will also provide particularly significant benefits to single mothers, helping many families to leave social assistance.
Under the Plan, Early Childhood Educator's wages and overall compensation will increase over time to reflect the importance of their work.* There will be a provincial wage grid to ensure fair and comparable wages across the province, recognizing education and experience. Early Childhood Educators will have more opportunities to improve their education with access to and funding support for Diploma and Bachelor of Early Childhood Education programs and professional development across BC. And, with greater public understanding of the significance of early care and learning, the work of Early Childhood Educators will be valued and respected - as it should be.
*see details on the wage grid here
The Plan supports providers who want to move away from their often isolated situations to become part of local child care networks and a province-wide system. Those who choose to opt-in to the Plan will receive additional operating funds to lower parent fees, so they can focus on enhancing the quality of early care and learning programs for young children without having to worry about affordability for families. Additional investments in the workforce also benefit providers who opt-in to the Plan because they will be able to recruit and retain enough well-qualified Early Childhood Educators to fully utilize their existing licensed capacity. The increased and stable public funding allows providers to better support children and families in their communities with high quality programming.
Several economists have studied the economic benefits of the $10aDay Plan. All of the studies used well-established research and BC data to show that the benefits of making high quality child care broadly available and affordable outweigh the costs.
Two recent studies, led by economists Iglika Ivanova (2015) and Robert Fairholm (2017), focus on the economic benefits in the near-term, and in particular the well-established link between affordable child care and mothers’ labour force participation.
On full implementation, Fairholm projects that the $10aDay Child Care Plan will add $5.8 billion to GDP, create 69,000 jobs across BC and raise enough government revenues to cover the estimated $1.5 billion incremental annual cost. The Plan will also provide higher economic returns than typical government investments, even in the short term.
Clearly we don’t have to choose between a strong economy and making BC more affordable for families. By implementing the $10aDay Plan, we'll have both.
Almost 40% of families report that a parent had to remain away from work following the end of parental leave because child care was unavailable. This finding reinforces the concerns raised by BC employers about retaining skilled, experienced mothers in the workforce.
Our Plan addresses this reality, and the related work-life conflict which costs BC employers $600 million each year due to:
- higher absenteeism
- greater turnover
- lower productivity
The Plan also reduces the pressure on wages alone to cover child care costs. With government investments in Child Care BC the 2019 living wage in Metro Vancouver dropped from $20.91 an hour to $19.50 an hour, and similar reductions have been calculated in other BC communities.
Employers across BC support public investment in child care. In rating the Fiscal Prudence of BC Budget 2018 a B+, for example, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade noted that:
A centerpiece of Budget 2018-19 is an investment of $1 billion over three years for Child Care BC. Benefits of up to $1,250 per month per child will help to improve the Greater Vancouver region's ability to attract human capital. This has been an area of concern to our Members, and thus we applaud this.
Communities that don’t work for families with young children don’t work for anyone. As Cranbrook’s City Council says “The lack of child care …means that people are turning away local jobs and not moving here, or they are having to leave the area, which is an economic barrier for business and services in our community.”
The Plan will build a neighbourhood network of child care programs that connect families and children to each other and to their neighbourhoods.
This means a stronger, healthier, and safer community for all.