More parents in northwestern B.C. will have the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities as the Province invests in more than 225 new licensed child care spaces, 167 of which are slated to open by the end of the year.
“We are delivering on more child care spaces here in the North so families can live full and balanced lives,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “As a parent, I understand how access to child care spaces is a game changer for families.”
The Province is supporting five projects to create 226 new licensed child care spaces in Kitimat, Kitwanga, Prince Rupert, Smithers and Terrace. In addition, three projects have also received funding in these communities since the launch of Childcare BC in July 2018.
“As we enter the fourth year of our 10-year Childcare BC plan, thousands of families are already feeling the life-changing impact of having affordable, quality and inclusive child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “As we continue to build toward an inclusive, universal child care system, these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers, to pursue their own goals, while being part of B.C.’s economic recovery.”
New child care spaces are on the way for families in the following communities:
- Kitimat (53 spaces)
- Kitwanga (51 spaces)
- Prince Rupert (45 spaces)
- Smithers (59 spaces)
- Terrace (18 spaces)
“The child care staff at Wo’umxhl Simalgyex Daycare will be from the Gitksen community of Gitwangax, to care for our children in a child care centre that will uplift Gitksen children and families to know who they are and where they come from,” said Elizabeth Williams, daycare manager, Gitwangak Education Society in Kitwanga. “The Gitsken language and culture will continue to be the foundation of the centre’s philosophy in the early years – new beginnings from the foundations of our ancestors.”
The Province has funded almost 26,000 new licensed spaces since the launch of Childcare BC – more than 6,000 of which are now open.
An additional 4,370 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, take the total number of new child care spaces funded since July 2017 to more than 29,300.
- Since July 2018, almost 26,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in British Columbia, including 120 in Kitimat, 171 in Smithers and 136 in Terrace.
- The Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month, per child, for a total of over $770 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
- As a result of these investments, parents in the Skeena, Stikine and North Coast regions have saved more than $6.4 million, $2.6 and $3 million respectively.
- Early childhood educators in the Skeena, Stikine and North Coast regions have received over $510,000 in wage enhancements combined.
For information on health and safety standards for child care during COVID-19: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
More about Childcare BC: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
A backgrounder follows.