Families in Victoria soon will have access to 439 new licensed child care spaces that will be co-located at six elementary schools, thanks to a $4.6-million investment through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.
The Greater Victoria School District is partnering with non-profit organizations to deliver these new spaces at elementary schools across the city. Each facility will be fully accessible and offer inclusive child care for children with extra support needs.
“This is the first announcement under our Childcare BC New Spaces program, and it shows how quickly we can create new quality child care spaces across the province by partnering with school districts and other public-sector organizations,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “What’s more, by offering child care in a school setting, families get the added benefit that their children can ease into the school environment and will feel more comfortable when they transition into kindergarten.”
Several of the non-profit organizations will offer wraparound services at the new facilities, including counselling, healthy food and clothing to support vulnerable families, as well as programming for francophone families and those who are new to Canada.
“Victoria parents have been calling out for more licensed child care spaces,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education and MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. “It’s great to see the school district working in partnership with non-profits to deliver child care on school grounds, as it gives families access to quality child care and additional wraparound services at one convenient location.”
Under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, school boards applying for funding to partner with non-profit organizations to offer new licensed child care spaces are eligible for up to $1 million per facility under the public-sector partnership funding stream.
Providers are able to apply throughout the year under a new continuous application process. More new spaces will be announced for communities throughout B.C. as more projects are approved.
"Our board of education is proud to be a leader in partnering with the Province to create new child care spaces,” said Jordan Watters, chair, Greater Victoria School Board. “We recognize the importance of quality early learning and child care for children and families, and we want to support our schools as valuable community hubs. We also want to recognize our local municipalities, service providers and facilities staff with whom we will be working to deliver this much-needed infrastructure."
These new spaces are the first to be announced under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund. Since launching the program in July 2018, more than 1,000 new licensed child care spaces have been approved for funding and the ministry is on target to reach its Year 1 goal of 2,700 spaces.
“Families need more quality child care spaces, which is a key priority under Childcare BC,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These new spaces are a good example of what is possible when municipalities, school districts, service providers and the Province work together. We are creating new spaces in Victoria schools that will make daily routines so much easier for parents.”
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is part of the Province’s $1-billion investment in child care over the next three years through its long-term Childcare BC plan, which will move B.C. toward a universal child care system that will give B.C. families access to affordable, quality child care when they need or want it.
Delivering affordable, accessible and quality child care is a shared priority between government and the B.C. Green caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –
“Too many parents have been struggling to find child care in Victoria; hundreds of families are stuck on wait-lists and it can take years to secure a spot for your child. I am so happy to see additional child care spaces coming to Victoria, it will make a lasting difference for children and parents in our community.”
Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head –
"Affordability continues to be British Columbians' number one concern. Investing in child care and early childhood education is one of the best things government can do to help make life more affordable for families. I'm very pleased that more much-needed child care spaces will be available in Oak Bay-Gordon Head."
Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin –
“These new spaces will make a big difference in the lives of families in my community. I am so proud to be a part of a government that is making affordable and accessible child care a priority.”
For more information about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
Two backgrounders follow.
Backgrounder 1 contains more information on the new spaces coming to Victoria families.
Backgrounder 2 includes more information on the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.