More parents in Greater Victoria will be able to pursue work, school and other opportunities while knowing their children are cared for as the Province invests in nearly 400 new licensed child care spaces.
“Almost 400 new child care spaces in Greater Victoria, including over 200 in Esquimalt-Metchosin, will make a huge difference for working families,” said Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin. “For decades, parents who wanted to work or attend school were left with few options. I am glad we are working to build a system where child care is accessible for everyone who wants it.”
The Province is supporting five child care providers to create 395 new licensed child care spaces in Greater Victoria.
In addition to these child care locations, 2,152 new spaces have been funded in the Greater Victoria region since the launch of ChildCareBC in July 2018.
“We are thrilled to be part of enriching and caring for our community through the creation of a child care space on the Colwood Elementary property with investment from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund,” said Ravi Parmar, chair, Sooke School District Board of Education. “Access to high-quality child care is a vital service that offers families the support they need in order to pursue their financial or educational goals. Accessible and inclusive child care is critical for healthy communities, and this new child care space that prioritizes a focus on Indigenous families will be a welcome addition to the Westshore.”
Since 2018, the Province has invested $2.7 billion in ChildCareBC, including funding more than 26,000 new licensed child care spaces through the New Spaces Fund and other space-creation programs.
“For years, parents in B.C. were left with a patchwork system where child care was treated as a luxury. As we enter the fifth year of our 10-year ChildCareBC plan, we are making significant progress to reverse this,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “We've been working to turn the corner by building new spaces, lowering fees and training the skilled professionals needed to offer quality child care as a core service available to every family that wants it at a price they can afford.”
Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care, said: “Our government is creating new child care spaces in communities throughout B.C. to ensure child care is available when and where families need it. With some of the new child care spaces on school grounds, we’re able to better integrate child care into the broader learning environment so children can more easily transition from their early-care programs into their school community.”
New spaces require new early childhood educators (ECEs). A recruitment and retention strategy was included as part of B.C.’s 10-year ChildCareBC plan, launched in 2018. Progress since then includes:
- providing more than 10,000 bursaries to support nearly 6,000 ECE students;
- creating 1,150 new ECE student spaces at post-secondary schools, which more than doubles the number of seats since 2018; and
- enhancing ECE compensation by $4 per hour.
Budget 2022 builds on this through a $3.9-million investment over the next three years to add another 390 new ECE seats at public post-secondary institutions in B.C.
As a result of ChildCareBC investments, parents in Victoria, Saanich, Sooke, Oak Bay and Esquimalt/Metchosin have saved $22 million, $13 million, $17 million, $6 million and $13 million respectively.
- In 2022-23, Budget 2022 is providing an additional $30 million for the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund to further expand the number of licensed child care spaces with a focus on spaces for school-aged children.
- More than 30,000 children receive support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit every month. Parents making less than $45,000 can receive 100% funding and those making as much as $111,000 can receive partial funding.
- In 2021-22, fee reductions were approved for more than 68,800 child care spaces at more than 3,600 child care facilities in B.C. through the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
- Through the Canada-British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, the Government of Canada has provided a one-time $49.2-million investment that will reduce barriers and increase access to post-secondary ECE programs and professional learning to support ECE graduates to transition to the workforce.
For more about ChildCareBC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
For more about the New Spaces Fund, visit: https://www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
Two backgrounders follow.