Families on Gabriola and Mayne Islands will soon have access to 40 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province’s ongoing commitment to increasing child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“Coastal, ferry dependent communities like those on Gabriola and Mayne have had challenges accessing child care for far too long,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “These new spaces will provide parents with the care they need, in the community they love, and will offer a wide array of programming.”
Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund is supporting an expansion at the HOPE Centre on Gabriola Island to add eight spaces in September 2020, including four infant/toddler spaces and four spaces for children up to the age of 12 years. This brings the total capacity of the centre, which focuses on learning through play, up to 40 child care spaces.
The Province is also supporting Mayne Island Family Place to create 32 new licensed child care spaces, including 12 infant/toddler spaces and 20 spaces for children up to age 12 years. The centre, which is expected to open in summer 2021, will be centrally located on the grounds of the Mayne Island Community Centre, and will offer community connections through drop-in and parenting programs.
“After hearing from many about the child care needs in Saanich North and the Islands, I am thankful that the province is making these substantial investments in increasing the number of spaces available to support families in our region,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. “We have a long way to go, but I look forward to continuing to work with the government and the important consultation currently underway by the local governments in the riding to collect data and better understand our child care needs.”
July 2020 marks the second anniversary of the launch of the New Spaces Fund, which has approved an average of 700 new spaces for funding each month. So far, nearly 16,800 new spaces have been funded throughout the province, helping parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.
“As a former early childhood educator, I know that quality child care makes a huge difference to families, allowing parents to go back to work or school and benefitting local economies in every part of B.C.,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “I’m proud of the progress our government has made in a short time. By funding over 16,000 child care spaces across the province, our Childcare BC plan is saving parents time and money and helping children along the path to lifelong learning.”
These new spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, means that more than 20,900 new licensed spaces have been funded since July 2017.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Alice Verstraete, executive director, The HOPE Centre –
“The HOPE Centre is thrilled with being able to offer licensed infant/toddler spaces for the first time to the families on Gabriola Island. Many young families have moved to the island recently in anticipation of finding quality child care which we will be able to offer in our new building.”
Meaghan Feduck, co-chair, Mayne Island Early Childhood Society –
“The Mayne Island Early Childhood Society was interested in building a legacy to our shifting island community. Many young families are coming to work and live here, and having a licensed child care facility means they can stay and their children can access high quality programming and rich learning opportunities.”
- As the Province moves towards its “new normal” under COVID-19, child care capital builds may see unexpected delays.
- Once operational, child care providers will be required to follow guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control to keep staff and the families they serve safe and to limit the risk of transmission.
For information on health and safety standards for child care, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
For more information on child care on Gabriola Island and Mayne Island, visit: https://www.childcarevictoria.org
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
A backgrounder follows.