North Vancouver Island families benefit from new child care spaces

April 21, 2022 at 2:43 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

More parents in north Vancouver Island will be able to pursue work, school and other opportunities while knowing their children are cared for as the Province invests in more than 450 new licensed child care spaces.

“We know that families need more child care spaces, and we’re responding by investing even more in affordable, accessible care,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “Our government’s historic push towards accessible child care creates more opportunities for people in our community. Coupled with the $10 a Day spaces announced earlier this year, these new spaces will help families in the Comox Valley feel confident that their young children have access to quality early learning.”

Provincial funding with a federal contribution is supporting three child care providers to create 453 new licensed child care spaces in:

  • Campbell River
  • Comox
  • Courtenay

In addition to these child care locations, 470 new spaces have been funded in the north Vancouver Island region since the launch of ChildCareBC in July 2018.

“We are pleased to help bring these much-needed before- and after-school spaces to Campbell River and Quadra Island in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Child Care,” said John Kerr, chair, Campbell River Board of Education. “Access to quality, inclusive child care is vitally important and goes a long way to helping relieve some of the stress on working families. This support will greatly benefit families in our region, and we welcome the opportunity to be part of and work alongside existing community child care centres to further support children and their parents.”

Since 2018, the Province has invested $2.7 billion in ChildCareBC, including funding more than 26,000 new licensed child care spaces through the New Spaces Fund and other space-creation programs.

“For years, parents in B.C. were left with a patchwork system where child care was treated as a luxury. As we enter the fifth year of our 10-year ChildCareBC plan, we are making significant progress to reverse this,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “We’ve been working to turn the corner by building new spaces, lowering fees and training the skilled professionals needed to offer quality child care as a core service available to every family that wants it at a price they can afford.”

New spaces require new early childhood educators (ECEs). A recruitment and retention strategy was included as part of the ChildCareBC plan. Progress includes:

  • providing more than 10,000 bursaries to support nearly 6,000 ECE students;
  • creating 1,150 new ECE student spaces at post-secondary schools, which more than doubles the number of seats since 2018; and
  • enhancing ECE compensation by $4 per hour.

Budget 2022 builds on this through a $3.9-million investment over the next three years to add another 390 new ECE seats at public post-secondary institutions in B.C.

As a result of ChildCareBC investments, parents in North Island and Courtenay-Comox have saved $14 million and $11 million, respectively.

Quotes:

Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care –

“Our government is creating new child care spaces in communities throughout B.C. to ensure child care is available when and where families need it. With some of the new child care spaces on school grounds, we’re able to better integrate child care into the broader learning environment so children can more easily transition from their early care programs into their school community.”

Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island –

“We know the difference that quality, affordable and accessible child care makes for families on the North Island. With all the new spaces funded since we started ChildCareBC in 2018 and the $10 a Day sites we recently announced, we know there is still more work to do. That’s why our government is committed to building more new spaces in our communities, making sure that children have a space to flourish and parents can pursue the career of their choice. I’m grateful to School District 72 and the Métis Nation for their partnership and hard work to bring even more spaces to local families.”

Quick Facts:

  • In 2022-23, Budget 2022 is providing an additional $30 million for the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund to further expand the number of licensed child care spaces with a focus on spaces for school-age children.
  • More than 30,000 children receive support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit every month. Parents making less than $45,000 can receive 100% funding and those making as much as $111,000 can receive partial funding.
  • In 2021-22, fee reductions were approved for more than 68,800 child care spaces at more than 3,600 child care facilities in B.C. through the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
  • To support the goal of ensuring access to quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care, the Government of Canada will contribute $3.2 billion for child care in British Columbia over five years through the 2021-22 to 2025-26 Canada-British Columbia Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement.
    • This is in addition to the more than $321 million announced in August 2021 through the 2021-22 to 2024-25 Canada-British Columbia ELCC Agreement, which included $49.2 million through a one-time investment in 2021-22 to support the early childhood workforce.

Learn More:

For more about ChildCareBC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

For more about the New Spaces Fund, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/caring-for-young-children/running-daycare-preschool/childcare-new-spaces-fund

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