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

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

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

Emerson Potter, a Grade 3 student at Blewett Elementary, advocated for changes to help him use his wheelchair on the school grounds. He’s seen here with his parents Lindsay Thompson and Keith Potter, and Blewett principal Tim Mushumanski (right). Photo: Tyler Harper
‘Pretty awesome’: Nelson-area student advocates for school to improve outdoor accessibility

Emerson Potter, who lives with cerebral palsy, had trouble moving around Blewett Elementary’s grounds

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

People will be strapping on the inline skates in Castlegar this summer. Photo: Jennifer Small
Castlegar Skating Club offers new summer inline program

New program will let ice skaters continue their training through the summer

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

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial prowler acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

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

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Most Read