More parents in northern B.C. will be able to pursue work, school and other opportunities while knowing their children are cared for as the Province invests in nearly 280 new licensed child care spaces.
"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."
Provincial funding with a federal contribution is supporting six child care providers to create 279 new licensed child care spaces in northern B.C. in the following areas:
- Dawson Creek
- Fort St. John
- Moberly Lake
- Prince George
In addition to these child care locations, 1,167 new spaces have been funded in northern B.C. since the launch of ChildCareBC in July 2018.
“The 27 new child care spots that will be created through New Spaces Funding will provide an opportunity for children to be a part of the larger community while providing parents the opportunity to work or pursue other options,” said Crystal Smith, Chief, Haisla Nation Council. “Haisla Nation recognizes the importance of children and youth to our Nation and our future, and the new spaces will make a difference to young families and the community as a whole.”
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.
“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,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care. “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 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 Kitamaat/Skeena, Peace River South, Fort St. John/Peace River North, Prince George and Quesnel have saved $8 million, $2 million, $4 million, $18 million and $5 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.
- To support the goal of ensuring access to quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care, the Government of Canada will contribute $3.2 billion for child care in British Columbia over five years through the 2021-22 to 2025-26 Canada-British Columbia Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
- This is in addition to the over $321 million announced in August 2021 through the 2021–2022 to 2024–2025 Canada–British Columbia ELCC Agreement, which included $49.2 million through a one-time investment in 2021–2022 to support the early childhood 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.