Families in Terrace will have access to more than a hundred new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province’s ongoing commitment to increase child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“Our government is making solid progress on our Childcare BC goal of giving families better access to quality, licensed child care in every part of our province,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “These new spaces in Terrace demonstrate our ongoing commitment to make life better for B.C. families and will allow more parents to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities, strengthening both the community and economy.”
Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund is supporting Coast Mountains School District 82 to renovate the former ET Kenney Primary school, creating 102 new child care spaces. The centre, which will be operated by Coast Mountain Children’s Society based in Terrace, is expected to open in September 2021 and will offer 12 new infant/toddler spaces, 20 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten, 10 pre-school spaces and 60 school-age spaces. The centre will use the Indigenous Early Learning Framework, which sets out principles to help ensure that Indigenous children experience high-quality, culturally rooted early learning and child care programming.
“We’re thankful for the opportunity to continue to build on our ongoing successful relationship with the Coast Mountain School District, as well as the Ministry of Children and Family Development,” said Sonia Hundal, executive director, Coast Mountain Children’s Society. “This opportunity will not only increase the number of spaces at our centre, but it will serve to improve the centre’s ability for accessible and inclusive spaces, with a focus on play areas, both indoor and outdoor. We are very excited to be leading the Northwest in increasing quality child care spaces for our community.”
The mechanical and overall design improvements of ET Kenney Primary school will ensure a healthy and safe environment is provided to children, while taking part in the before- and after-school programs and daily child care. The indoor play spaces will ensure children have many healthy activities with adequate space to be safe, no matter what time of year or challenges the outside weather brings.
“The board of education eagerly anticipates the creation of new affordable child care spaces in Terrace and welcomes the opportunity to partner with the community to offer affordable spaces for families,” said Janet Meyer, superintendent of Schools, Coast Mountains School District 82. “The board of education recognizes the need for additional child care spaces and extends its appreciation to the Ministry of Children and Family Development for approval of this joint application between Coast Mountain Children’s Society and Coast Mountains School District 82. Working jointly with the community to address issues such as child care is a priority for the school district.”
Recent changes made by government to the School Act will make it even easier for school boards to create and operate before- and after-school care. The changes will also require school boards to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy.
“For too long, families throughout B.C. have struggled to find quality, affordable child care close to home,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “We’re making it easier for child care to be delivered on school properties, because children benefit when they spend more time in spaces that are already designed for enrichment and play, and families save time and money with one central drop-off location in their neighbourhoods.”
July 2020 marks the second anniversary of the launch of the New Spaces Fund, which has approved an average of 700 new spaces for funding each month. So far, nearly 16,800 new spaces have been funded throughout the province, helping parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.
These new spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, means that more than 20,900 new licensed spaces have been funded since July 2017.
“Providing quality, affordable and inclusive child care goes hand in hand with a strong, vibrant economy,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “By funding nearly 16,800 new licensed spaces throughout the province, our government is helping more parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities knowing that when they drop their kids off in the morning, they’ll get the nurturing support they need to grow and thrive.”
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.
- This investment means 102 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in Terrace since July 2018.
- 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.
For information on health and safety standards for child care, visit: 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
For more information on child care in Terrace, visit the Skeena Child Care and Resource Referral Centre: http://twrcs.ca/programs/skeena-child-care-and-resource-referral/
To find child care in 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
A backgrounder follows.