More parents on central Vancouver Island will have the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities as the Province invests in more than 380 new licensed child care spaces, 98 of which are expected to open by the end of the year.
“By increasing child care spaces here on central Vancouver Island, we are ensuring that more families can receive high-quality and inclusive child care that supports their child’s healthy development,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “As we have seen throughout COVID-19, affordable child care is an important part of our province’s economy and this latest investment will help us recover from the pandemic stronger.”
The Province is supporting eight projects to create 383 new licensed child care spaces in Lantzville, Port Alberni and Parksville:
- Lantzville (137 spaces)
- Port Alberni (176 spaces)
- Parksville (70 spaces)
“The Oomiiqsu Childcare Centre will help create new stories for children and families going forward by offering quality child care and nurturing child development, teaching children the Nuu-chah-nulth language, cultural traditions and supporting their participation in cultural activities,” said Edward R. Johnson, citizen development portfolio holder, Huu-ay-aht First Nations Executive Council. “This funding is another step towards reconciliation and will allow Huu-ay-aht and other Nuu-chah-nulth Nations to move towards cultural and language revitalization and healing.”
In addition to these projects, three other projects have also received funding in Port Alberni since the launch of Childcare BC in July 2018, including Alberni Valley Saplings, which opened 16 new licensed child care spaces in July 2020.
“This funding has made a huge impact for our daycare and our community. We would not exist without it,” said Jessica Thompson, co-owner and operator, Alberni Valley Saplings. “Our community, like many, has a major need for more child care spaces, and we are so happy to be a part of addressing that need. So far, we have received really positive feedback from families and the community about our program.”
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.
“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.”
An additional 4,370 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 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 235 in Port Alberni and 85 in Parksville.
- 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 Parksville-Qualicum and the mid-Island-Pacific rim regions have saved more than $6 million and $8.5 million, respectively.
- Early childhood educators in the Parksville-Qualicum and mid-Island-Pacific rim regions have received over $850,000 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.