As parents return to work, the Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in Vancouver by investing in more than 200 new licensed spaces.
“We know high-quality, affordable child care goes hand in hand with the success of B.C.’s economy,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Now, more than ever, it’s critical that we keep working to make sure our Childcare BC plan reaches families across the province. By partnering with the local school board, we can quickly add new licensed child care spaces to Vancouver neighbourhoods, strengthening the community and giving more parents access to quality care close to home.”
With support from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, the Vancouver School Board (SD 39) is creating 226 new licensed child care spaces for school-aged children. These spaces will be run by non-profit organizations and co-located at five elementary schools across the city, including:
- Coal Harbour Elementary school: up to 50 spaces (YMCA)
- Dr. George M. Weir Elementary school: up to 82 spaces (YMCA)
- Grandview Elementary school: up to 30 spaces (Britannia Community Services)
- Mount Pleasant Elementary school: up to 24 spaces (YMCA)
- Sir Sanford Fleming Elementary school: up to 40 spaces (YMCA)
The majority of spaces are expected to open by September 2020. Facilities at Dr. George M. Weir Elementary and Coal Harbour Elementary are part of larger construction projects and are anticipated to open in January 2022 and September 2024, respectively.
The school district will partner with the YMCA of Greater Vancouver to operate at four of the facilities. Programming at these centres will be guided by YMCA’s A Place to Connect curriculum, focussing on physical activity and relationship building, while engaging children in fun activities. A major component of this program is creating a positive, social environment where children can grow and develop the skills they need to succeed.
Britannia Community Services will operate school-aged child care at Grandview Elementary school. The organization will work with the local Supported Child Development program to ensure that programming is inclusive and meets the unique needs of each child.
Recent changes made by the Ministry of Education to the School Act will make it even easier for boards of education to create and operate before- and after-school care. The changes will also require boards to create an inclusive child care policy and prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 instruction for child care.
“Helping families find quality, affordable child care close to home is a priority for our government as we proudly lead the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “These new spaces, many of which will be located at schools that are being seismically upgraded or replaced, are great examples of how we can work together to give parents more convenient child care options, and help children transition more easily to kindergarten.”
These new spaces in Vancouver were included in March 2020’s 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 new 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.
Janet Fraser, board chair, Vancouver School District –
“We are delighted to receive this funding to further support families in our school communities. We are excited to continue to work with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and other partners to be able to offer child care spaces, meeting the needs of more families across the district.”
Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End –
“Parents in my community and across B.C. have struggled to find affordable childcare for too long. These new spaces, on top of the brand-new Coal Harbour Elementary school, will help make child care available to many more West End and Coal Harbour families. It’s great news.”
George Chow, MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview –
“Affordable child care is essential for a strong economy and a great way to support our local school communities at Fleming and Weir Elementary schools. We are giving more parents the option to return to work or school, knowing that their kids are in a safe and nurturing environment.”
Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington –
“I hear regularly from my constituents the impact that a child care shortage has had on parents. Many people have to travel long distances to find care. These local spaces will make life easier for families.”
Melanie Mark, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant –
“These much-needed programs and services will make a huge difference for children and families in my community. This type of partnership empowers families to work, go back to school and serve the community.”
Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings –
“I’m proud of the work we’re doing to create an accessible and affordable child care system. This is an essential part of our ongoing progress to reduce poverty in British Columbia.”
- As the Province moves towards 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.
- The City of Vancouver is receiving $25,000 to undertake a needs assessment and create the fresh air school age care action plan to support local families over the next 10 years. This funding comes from the Community Child Care Planning Program, a $3-million partnership between the Province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
- Eight child care centres in the Vancouver region are also providing child care for no more than $10 a day as part of the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites Program.
- 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 at: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
For more information on the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites
For more information on child care in Vancouver, visit the West Coast Child Care Resource and Referral centre: www.wstcoast.org/about/vancouver-ccrr