As parents return to work, the Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in New Westminster by investing in more than 180 new licensed spaces.
“COVID-19 has changed so much of our lives, but as we begin to restart our economy, one thing remains – parents need safe, affordable child care in their communities,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These 180 new child care spaces will be a huge relief for many New Westminster parents, so they can focus on getting back to work or school and creating the best future for their families and community.”
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is supporting three projects that will create more child care options for local families. The City of New Westminster is creating 45 new spaces, made up of 12 infant/toddler spaces and 33 spaces for children aged three to five years, as part of the new Aquatic and Community Centre.
The city will work with the Kinsight Supported Child Development Program to create accessibility plans for children with extra support needs. The facility will be operated by a non-profit child care provider, with the city leasing space at a low cost to keep fees affordable for families.
School District 40 (New Westminster) is creating 37 new spaces as part of the seismic replacement of Sir Richard McBride Elementary school, including 12 infant/toddler spaces and 25 spaces for children aged three to five years. Children at the facility will play, learn and grow in an inclusive and supportive environment centred around best practices in early childhood education – an opportunity that will help set them up for success as they move on to K-12 education. Construction is anticipated to finish in fall 2021.
“When families have quality, affordable child care close to home, it allows parents to continue working and living in their communities,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “That’s why our government is making it easier for schools to offer child care, so more families can have peace of mind knowing their kids are benefiting from school facilities that are already enriched for learning and play.”
Mongio Early Learning Center is adding 98 spaces at its existing facility on Royal Avenue, including 12 infant/toddler spaces, 50 spaces for children aged three to five years, 20 preschool spaces and 16 school-age spaces. This takes the total number of spaces at the facility to 183.
The organization works closely with the Kinsight Supported Child Development Program to offer inclusive child care, as well as the Spirit of the Children Society to teach children about Indigenous cultures and traditions. The centre, expected to open in July, will have an in-house chef to provide children with healthy, nutritious meals.
“The east end of New Westminster is experiencing significant population and employment growth, especially fuelled by the Royal Columbian Hospital,” said Judy Darcy, MLA for New Westminster. “In this diverse city, these new child care spaces mean families who are new to the Royal City or new to Canada can be sure their children are getting the best start in life, close to home, where experienced staff are passionate about nourishing their children’s development.”
These new spaces in New Westminster are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. They were included in March 2020’s milestone announcement of 13,000 new spaces the Province has funded since July 2018.
An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total to more than 17,000 licensed spaces since July 2017.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents save almost $500 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB) and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI). Over 69,500 children have been approved for ACCB benefit plans since the start of the program. Currently, over 61,000 licensed child care spaces are approved to receive CCFRI funding.
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.
Jonathan Coté, Mayor of New Westminster –
“The City of New Westminster is committed to working with the Province, School District 40 and the non-profit sector to enhance access to quality and affordable child care. These projects not only demonstrate the power of partnership, but also meet an important community need and contribute to the family friendliness of our city. We look forward to exploring future partnership opportunities that can help New Westminster families meet their child care needs.”
Anita Ansari, chair, board of education, New Westminster Schools —
“We have been hearing from parents across the district about child care pressures they’re facing and we’re working hard to help alleviate them. That’s why it made sense to use the opportunity of the new Richard McBride school building to meet that goal – to not only keep delivering the care options that are remaining on the site, but also to add more spaces to help more families. It’s all part of making public schools more accessible for students and families alike.”
Xiang Li, Mongio Early Learning Center —
“On behalf of the families and staff at Mongio, I wanted to say how grateful we are to have received this funding. Even before we opened our doors to the public in May 2019, we were very aware of the shortage of child care spaces in our community. For the needs of the families in New Westminster and surrounding areas, we knew we had to open up more spaces. Some of our current children who will be moving into our upstairs classrooms are very excited and can’t wait to see their new rooms.”
- As the Province moves toward its “new normal” under COVID-19, child care capital builds may see unexpected delays.
- Once operational, child care providers will be required to follow guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control to keep staff and the families they serve safe and to limit the risk of transmission.
- Recent changes made by the Ministry of Education to the School Act will make it even easier for school boards create and operate before- and after-school care. The changes will also require school boards to create an inclusive child care policy and prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care.
- To date, the Province has invested more than $19 million to provide nearly 12,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, which increased to $2 per hour in April 2020, to better recognize the important work they do.
More information on health and safety standards for child care, plus the latest COVID-19 related child care information, is available online:
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit:
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map:
For more information on child care in New Westminster, visit: