It seems that childcare has been a major issue in the Elk Valley for several years.
Early Childhood Education (ECE) workers wages are so low that they can barely afford to live in the Elk Valley, where the cost of living is high in comparison to many other areas in B.C.
Without enough qualified childcare workers, facilities are forced to turn parents down.
During last week’s Elk Valley Childcare Barrier and Opportunities Survey Information Sharing event in Fernie, parents had an opportunity to share their personal concerns regarding childcare.
With two-year waiting lists for childcare spots, many parents seemed frustrated that they may not be given the opportunity to go back to work.
Childcare should be looked at as a necessity rather than a privilege. If the Elk Valley has any chance of growing and welcoming more young families to the community, the childcare issue has to be resolved.
During last week’s meeting, the group noted that many young families move to the Elk Valley on their own, without any kind of support network. Although individuals often begin to look at their friends as family, those relationships are not the same and many young families said they couldn’t look to their friends for the same kind of childcare support they could ask their family for.
Aside from the issue of limited childcare spots, many parents addressed their concerns over the childcare hours. With many daycares only being open until 4 p.m., parents are often unable to work full-time hours.
I honestly believe childcare should be a top priority in the Elk Valley. Everyone has a right to continue to work after they have a child.
There are many facets to this issue but I believe that if the government stepped up to ensure childcare was a top priority, the concern over limited spaces would cease to exist. Whether that entails raising the wages of ECE workers or working to reduce the cost of daily childcare in order to make it more affordable for parents, something needs to be done. After living in the Elk Valley for a year, I’ve come to find that supporting yourself on a single income can be considered a challenge. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to support a family on a single income. It’s not fair for families to be expected to do this. As I said before, childcare should be considered a necessity and the Elk Valley needs to work together to ensure parents have access to affordable daycare.