More parents in B.C.’s Interior will be able to pursue their work or education goals, thanks to 84 licensed child care spaces and a further 79 spaces that are expected to open by March 2022.
“Families across the Interior have improved access to safe and fun places for their little ones, with even more spaces opening soon,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “We’re working with all kinds of partners to open child care spaces as quickly as possible. These spaces will support us in our recovery from the pandemic and will help continue building economically and socially vibrant communities. There’s still more to do to achieve truly inclusive universal child care, but we are well on our way.”
The new spaces were funded through the Province’s Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund, which provided approximately $11 million to non-profit groups, schools and other public-sector organizations to quickly create new child care spaces.
“The past 20 months have made it very clear that child care is more important than ever,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “On top of the uncertainty of the pandemic, parents had to juggle the stress of working from home while also caring for their kids or needing to make new child care arrangements. Our Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund is one way we’re quickly addressing the need for more affordable, quality child care spaces, while also funding long-term child care projects that will benefit families and communities for generations to come.”
The Province funded 163 new licensed child care spaces for families in Lumby, Armstrong, Fernie, Osoyoos and Penticton:
- The Early Years Centre in Lumby is expected to open 54 spaces in March 2022.
- Kindale Child Care Centre in Armstrong is expected to open 25 spaces by early December.
- Bright Beginnings Community Preschool (Pre-K Child Care) in Fernie has opened 51 spaces since September 2021.
- Osoyoos Elementary school opened 24 new “Seamless Day” spaces in July 2021.
- Columbia Elementary school in Penticton opened nine new spaces in April 2021.
The 24 new child care spaces added at Osoyoos Elementary are from the renovation of two classrooms. The space can now be used as a kindergarten during the day with the addition of licenced child care in the mornings and afternoons. The Osoyoos facility is run by the Okanagan-Similkameen School District and was supported with approximately $93,000 in provincial funding.
“This renovation means more families can feel secure knowing their children are learning in bigger, brighter spaces from certified early childhood educators in a seamless program that transitions before and after school into the primary classrooms,” said Beverly Young, superintendent of schools, School District No. 53. “The renovation also includes new picnic tables that facilitate outdoor learning as part of the program, which provides kids in our community even more opportunities to learn and play.”
The Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund supported the creation of 912 new licensed child care spaces in 20 communities throughout B.C.
“Our government is committed to supporting lifelong learning and healthy families through child care programs and in schools throughout B.C.,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “The Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund gives parents more child care options within their communities, and builds on our ongoing work to ensure new child care spaces are available, accessible and affordable for all B.C. families.”
The Province is committed to bringing affordable, quality, inclusive child care to families throughout B.C. Since 2018, tens of thousands of families have benefited from better access to more affordable child care, with some parents saving as much as $1,600 a month.
- Since 2018, more than 26,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded for families in B.C.
- The Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month, per child, for a total of more than $750 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
- As a result of these investments, parents in the Interior have saved nearly $103 million.
- To date, early childhood educators in the Interior have received more than $6.6 million in wage enhancements.
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
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