Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

The province will double the number of $10-a-day child care spaces available to families in B.C. as part of its 2021 budget rolled out Tuesday (April 20).

The child care funding released in this budget totals $223 million over three years. Of that money, $111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces, across 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Viveca Ellis, provincial organizer at the Single Mothers’ Alliance for Gender & Economic Justice, said the province missed out on an opportunity to commit to a “truly universal” child care system.

“At this time, the province is opting to continue with the subsidy application model, which is cumbersome and ineffective,” Ellis said, particularly for single mothers who may struggle to find time to navigate the government’s systems.

That issue hits some groups more than others, she added.

“The lone mother led families that are in some of the toughest situations and the most severe poverty do tend to be predominantly racialized and Indigenous lone mothers – and we do hear from these members that they find this system challenging to navigate and confusing.”

Even when women can navigate the system of subsidies, Ellis said that just finding spots for their children proves to be another challenge.

“We need many more spots than just the couple of thousands that are being added at this time,” she said. “We needed at least triple the amount of $10 a day subsidized spaces that this budget is allowing.”

Generation Squeeze founder Paul Kershaw said that the lack of across the board $10-a-day child care is a compromise that will only increase the “generational squeeze” being felt by many young families.

“It’s fair to say this provincial budget does not deliver on promises to child care,” he told reporters, adding that the province needs to play an active role in bringing down the costs for young families.

“It is not enough for the province to simply bank on the big child care announcement made in the federal budget,” he added. “Ottawa still requires an active provincial partner to bring about the $10-a-day child care vision. BC Budget 2021 reveals that our government does not plan to be as active as it promised during the last election. That’s a shame.”

However, Ellis said the additional $4-per-hour for early childcare educators is a “very welcome and necessary” move. The increase moves up early childhood educator salaries to as much as $23-an-hour and will cost the B.C. government $94 million.

“It is a predominantly female dominated sector and for far, far too long, the wages have been far too low,” Ellis said, adding that she hopes to see “significant” future raises scheduled for upcoming years.

In a statement, Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU which represents many child care workers across B.C., also lauded the news.

The province’s child care funding will also expand the Seamless Day Pilot to 20 additional school districts, up from the current four. The program, Finance Minister Selina Robinson said, will be a “life changer” for families with multiple children by allowing them to drop off both school and pre-school aged kids at the same facility.

Additional child care funding in the 2021 budget includes $20 million in health and safety grants for child care providers, 110 new post-secondary seats for early childhood educators, and $20 million over three years to add 400 spaces to Aboriginal Head Start program.

READ MORE: National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

READ MORE: Federal Budget 2021: Liberals pledge $30B for child care with eye to reducing fees

For more on the 2021 B.C. Budget, click here.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

2021 B.C. Budgetchild care policy

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

The Sparwood Golf Club received $1,206.12 for a lighting project as part of its wider renewal efforts. (Image contributed by Columbia Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies)
CFKR allocates over $11,000 to Elk Valley community programs

Over $50,000 was dished out between the communities of the Kootenay Rockies

RDEK is calling for nominations for their Volunteer of the Year award in all six electoral districts.
RDEK posts operating surplus as pandemic reduces costs

The RDEK has posted an operational surplus of $8 million as local… Continue reading

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Fernie Ghostriders head coach Jeff Wagner has committed to two more years with the team. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Fernie Ghostriders coach departs: Wagner moves to Coquitlam

Jeff Wagner will move to the Lower Mainland as associate coach and director of scouting with the Coquitlam Express

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read