A significant expansion to the largest of only three licensed child care facilities in Osoyoos will mean that local parents will not need to drive to nearby towns to find quality care for their children.
“The early years of life are critical in the development and future well-being of children,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “Our government is pleased to work with the Government of British Columbia to help families access high-quality early learning and child care so more children and parents have the support they need.”
The Town of Osoyoos is receiving $900,000 to add 18 new licensed child care spaces to the Osoyoos Child Care Centre, the first expansion since the centre opened more than 20 years ago. It will allow the centre to add eight spaces for infants and toddlers, and 10 for children aged three years to kindergarten. This expansion will take the total number of spaces to 61, an increase of more than 40%.
“We believe access to licensed, good quality child care is something that all B.C. parents deserve. It should not matter if you live in a large or small community,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.'s Minister of Children and Family Development. “This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved when you mix federal and provincial funding with municipal planning and local know-how. It is what the future of child care can look like, and I know it can’t come soon enough for parents.”
The Osoyoos Child Care Centre has strong relationships with community organizations, which it uses to connect families to local wraparound services. Parents who are new to Canada can access supports like language classes through the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services Society, while links to the local Supported Child Development Centre will help families who have children with extra support needs to fully participate in the centre’s programs.
“The Town of Osoyoos is delighted to learn of this new partnership grant for the Osoyoos Child Care Centre,” said Sue McKortoff, mayor of the Town of Osoyoos. “The money will be used for the expansion of this local facility to allow 18 more spaces for infants, toddlers and pre-kindergarten children. Investing in early childhood education and care is a priority need of our young families. Expansion of these facilities assists in providing needed quality of life services that make our community an attractive place to work and live.”
In addition to wraparound supports, children will benefit from play-based learning, with activities such as story time, arts and crafts, and active play to boost their motor and language skills.
The centre is working closely with the Osoyoos Indian Band to teach children about local Indigenous culture and language. The expansion is expected to be complete within the next two years.
“We know that families in towns across the province are struggling to find licensed child care spots, and that one of the best ways to solve the space shortage is to work with local governments,” said Katrina Chen, B.C.'s Minister of State for Child Care. “That’s why we’re so encouraged to see towns, like Osoyoos, leveraging grants from Victoria and Ottawa to create new spaces for their communities. We need all three levels of government to work together for universal child care.”
In March 2019, the Province announced more than 70 local governments would receive up to $25,000 to create a long-term child care plan to meet the needs of local families for the next 10 years. These plans will be completed over the coming months, with local governments also able to apply for federal and provincial funding to build licensed child care spaces. Since July 2018, more than 5,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded throughout British Columbia. More are approved every month.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Karen Greig, manager, Osoyoos Child Care Centre –
“We are thrilled to be the recipients for funding to expand our building. This will allow our centre to support more families with young children, which is our passion and mandate. The child care field has lacked vital support for many years, and now it feels like there is hope on the horizon.”
- The Community Child Care Space Creation Program is funded through the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada.
- The program is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, with up to $1 million to create new licensed child care spaces in B.C. communities.
- This funding focuses on creating infant and toddler spaces, as well as those that support underserved communities.
- The Community Child Care Planning Grant program provides up to $25,000 for local governments to assess and plan for the creation of new child care spaces that meet the needs of local families.
- Under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, public-sector organizations are eligible for up to $1 million to help create new licensed child care spaces.
- The Start-up Grant progam offers up to $4,500 to support individuals and unlicensed child care providers with the cost of becoming licensed.
For more information about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To find child care your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
Parents who need information about choosing child care, or want a list of registered and licensed child care centres in their area, can get help through their local Child Care Resource and Referral Centre, or by visiting: www.ccrr.bc.ca/
For information about the Osoyoos Child Care Centre, visit: http://osoyooschildcare.ca/home.html