- The B.C. government recognizes the challenges many parents face when trying to balance raising a family with pursuing work and training opportunities.
- That’s why it launched a B.C. Early Years Strategy, led by the Provincial Office for the Early Years, which aims to improve the access and quality of early years programs in B.C., including child care.
- The strategy outlines a framework, backed by a strong funding commitment, to support families and ensure that young British Columbians have the best possible start in life.
Supports and Services:
- The Province will invest $352.5 million in child care in 2017-18, a 7.6% increase over 2016-17, and a 67.2% increase over 2000-01. This includes major capital funding for new child-care spaces, as well as operating funding and child-care subsidy payments: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
- As part of this commitment, the ministry will invest $92.3 million in child care operating funding to help providers cover day-to-day operating costs, help keep parent fees more affordable, provide fair salaries and maintain quality services.
- Government invests up to $119.9 million annually on the Child Care Subsidy program, which currently supports approximately 20,000 B.C. children and their families with the cost of child care each month. As of April 2016, child-support payments no longer influence eligibility for parents already receiving or applying for monthly child-care subsidies. This means that more B.C. parents will get additional help with the cost of child care each month: www.gov.bc.ca/childcaresubsidy
- To take the stress out of searching for child care, the ministry has created an online Child Care Map, which provides at-a-glance information for over 4,500 child-care providers throughout the province: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
- Government also invests in the Single Parent Employment Initiative (SPEI), which helps single parents on income or disability assistance with child-care and transportation costs while they are enrolled in training programs and for up to a year after they re-enter the workforce: www.gov.bc.ca/SingleParentEmploymentInitiative
- To help with the costs of raising a young child, the ministry introduced the new B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit in April 2015. The benefit provides $145 million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six (up to $55 a month per child). About 90% of families with young children are eligible: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/caring-for-young-children/bc-early-childhood-tax-benefit
B.C. Early Years Strategy:
- In 2017-18, the Province will support the creation of up to 4,100 new licensed child-care spaces in B.C. through the fourth Child Care Major Capital Funding intake.
- These new spaces build on government’s commitment, under the B.C. Early Years Strategy, to support the creation of 13,000 new licensed child-care spaces by 2020.
- Since 2014, the Province has invested $26.5 million to support the creation of more than 4,300 new licensed child-care spaces throughout B.C.: gov.bc.ca/childcaremajorcapitalfunding
- The Province has also established a network of B.C. Early Years Centres that provide one-stop access to a range of services – such as child-care programs, public-health clinics and medical advice, and parent education workshops – in 47 communities throughout B.C.: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/caring-for-young-children/how-parents-can-support-young-children/provincial-office-for-early-years
- With these new centres and child-care spaces comes the need for more Early Childhood Educators (ECE). In 2017-18, the Province will extend its partnership with the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. to provide an additional $1.1 million to the Early Childhood Education Bursary, taking government’s overall investment in the bursary to just over $3 million.
- The bursary program supports the Province’s commitment to increasing access to early childhood educator and care-provider training, as identified in the B.C. Early Years Strategy: http://www.ecebc.ca/programs/student_bursary.html
- In addition to this ECE Bursary, government will invest $1 million in a new Indigenous Early Years Bursary Program to be administered through a partnership with the New Relationship Trust Foundation (NRTF). This program will offer bursaries to Indigenous people interested in studies in Early Childhood Education, Pediatric Therapies and Para Professions.
- A total of 33 approved B.C. post-secondary educational institutions currently offer early childhood education programs. Of those, six schools offer Aboriginal ECE programs.
- As of September 2016, over 1,000 bursaries had been awarded to assist students with the costs of furthering their education.
Government Communications and Public EngagementMinistry of Children and Family Development