More parents in the Kootenays will be able to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities as the Province invests in 125 new, licensed child care spaces, about 50 of which are expected to open in the fall.
“It’s so important that families in the Kootenays have access to child care on a schedule that works for them,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West. “I’m excited to see the City of Trail’s plan for an extended-hour child care centre, which means that parents who don’t work a nine-to-five job will have the options they need. About 125 new spaces across the region means more kids in our communities will have a safe space to learn and grow.”
The Province is supporting three projects to create 125 new licensed child care spaces in Trail, Fernie and Elkford:
- Trail (46 spaces)
- Fernie (51 spaces)
- Elkford (28 spaces)
“Helping to ensure families can access safe and affordable child care where and when they need it is a priority for the trust, as informed by people living in the Columbia Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “These new spaces will be a welcome addition to assist families, caregivers and their support networks. We are happy to support this work alongside our community and provincial partners.”
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 towards an inclusive universal child care system, these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers, to pursue their own goals, while also 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 68 in Trail and 94 in Fernie/Cranbrook.
- The Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month, per child, for a total of more than $770 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
- As a result of these investments, parents in the Kootenays East and Kootenays West regions have saved more than $3.8 million and $5.3 million, respectively.
- Early childhood educators in the Kootenays have received more than $565,000 in wage enhancements.
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
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
A backgrounder follows.