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Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Thirty-five communities across the province will have access to more than 3,000 quality, licensed child care spaces as the province marks a milestone in its Childcare BC plan.

“The momentum of Childcare BC plan continues to build despite the challenges British Columbia has been facing over the past months,” Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen said Friday, Sept. 18.

“We have now funded more than 20,000 new spaces in the past two years and we remain committed to giving families better access to inclusive, quality affordable child care as we rebuild our economy.”

The province announced around 16,800 new licensed spaces funded through the program in July and since then, an additional 3,634 spaces have been funded through the New Spaces Fund.

Since 2018, the province has funded around 780 new child care spaces per month on average.

Among the funded projects, the Peace River North School District’s Board of Education will create 116 spaces for children on the grounds of four elementary schools in Fort St. John. The programs will be overseen by the district which are expected to be ready for families by January 2021.

Seventy-seven new spots are coming to the YMCA of Greater Vancouver’s Sprouts Child Care Centre located in the Capstan Village neighbourhood of Richmond. The centre is set to open in spring 2021.

An additional 4,110 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child agreement with Ottawa, takes the total to more than 24,500 spaces since July 2017.

“The (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the importance of child care, not just for children and families, but for our communities and the economy,” Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy said.

“These more than 3,600 new child care spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history and show our ongoing commitment to building a child care system that benefits families across the whole province.”

Between Feb. 10 and Sept. 11, 2020, the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund has funded child care spaces in communities such as Abbotsford, Burnaby, Surrey, Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, Nelson, Haida Gwaii, Richmond and Victoria, among others.

READ MORE: Wanted Enderby man connected to Shuswap stabbing caught in Coldstream

READ MORE: VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids


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Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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