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

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic training to take place in Castlegar

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

South Okanagan MP Richard Cannings wants to see dental coverage for all Canadians. (courtesy of Pixabay)
OPINION: South Okanagan MP fights for universal dental care

One in three Canadians have no dental coverage, with COVID making it even worse

COVID-19 cases are once again dropping across the West Kootenay. Illustration: BC Centre for Disease Control
Ten new cases of COVID-19 in Nelson area

Numbers are steadily dropping across the West Kootenay

Dep. Fire Chiefs Rich Piché (left) and Stephane Dionne said they were disappointed that only one person showed up at the George Evans fire hall’s recruitment drive Tuesday evening, May. 11. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue says rural fire hall at risk of closing

Home insurance could spike across North Fork if George Evans fire hall loses fire protection status

Conservation Service Officer Kyle Bueckert holds a gold eagle that was revived from acute rodent poisoning Monday, May 12. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks residents, Conservation Service Officer save poisoned eagle

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

The Libby Dam on the Kootenai River in Montana. The dam created the Koocanusa Reservoir, which straddles the B.C./Montana border. (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
Outflow at Libby Dam to be increased

Volume increase to aid migration and spawning conditions for endangered white sturgeon in the Kootenai River

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read