Families in the Kootenays will have access to almost 150 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province’s ongoing commitment to increasing access to child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“This is great news for families across the Kootenays, especially for those in Nakusp, who will see nearly 100 new child care spaces,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister Responsible for the Columbia Basin Trust and MLA for Kootenay West. “Safe, accessible and affordable early childhood education creates so many opportunities for parents, children and educators alike. Both Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson and I are excited to see the communities we represent really taking advantage of this programming so we can all build back better.”
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is supporting four projects to create 144 new licensed child care spaces in Castlegar, Nakusp, Nelson and Winlaw. These spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history and were part of the September 2020 milestone that marked more than 20,000 new spaces funded throughout the province in just over two years.
Families will be able to access new licensed spaces in the following communities:
- Castlegar (20 spaces)
- Nakusp (96 spaces)
- Nelson (eight spaces)
- Winlaw (20 spaces)
“The new Nakusp Child Care Centre hub will help address what has been described as a ‘child care desert’ in our community,” said Terry Taylor, superintendent, School District 10. “The hub will give kids the start they deserve, while also creating opportunities for young people in our community to gain experience as early childhood educators. Parents and families are excited about the new opportunities for high-quality licensed child care that the Nakusp Child Care Centre hub will bring.”
The Columbia Basin Trust also provided funding for all four projects to help create more child care spaces for families in the Kootenays.
“Knowing how critical the child care situation is for so many, these new spaces will make a real difference in helping more families access quality, licensed child care,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and chief executive officer, Columbia Basin Trust. “Kudos to the organizations spearheading these projects who have already done considerable work. We’re pleased to provide $219,000 in funding as well as advice and other support as needed.”
An additional 4,110 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total number of new licensed spaces funded in B.C. to more than 24,500 since July 2017.
“These new child care spaces for families in the Kootenays are bringing us one step closer to delivering the quality, affordable and inclusive child care that all B.C. families deserve,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Child care for families is key to B.C.’s economic recovery, and these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, to return to work or school.”
- Since July 2018, more than 20,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in British Columbia, including 82 in Castlegar, 96 in Nakusp, 81 in Nelson and 20 in Winlaw.
- Throughout the province, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month per child through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
- As a result of these investments, parents in Castlegar, Nakusp, Nelson and Winlaw have saved $3.7 million on child care.
- Early childhood educators in these communities have received almost $182,000 in wage enhancements.
- Through B.C.’s combined affordability initiatives, more than 36,000 children have received child care for $10/day or less since the beginning of the Childcare BC plan.
For information on health and safety standards for child care during COVID-19, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
A backgrounder follows.