More parents in the Kootenays will be able to pursue work, school and other opportunities while knowing their children are cared for as the Province invests in 45 new licensed child care spaces.
“As a former early childhood educator myself, I know how important accessible and affordable child care options are to parents,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West. “Families with young children face so many challenges, particularly as we navigate through the late stages of the pandemic. These new spaces in the Kootenays will make it easier for parents to find high-quality care that fits in their budget.”
Provincial funding, with contributions from the federal government and the Columbia Basin Trust, is supporting two child care providers to create new licensed child care spaces in Fruitvale and Kaslo.
In addition to these child care locations, 544 new spaces have been funded in the Kootenay region since the launch of ChildCareBC in July 2018.
"People in the Columbia Basin have said that safe and affordable child care is important, and these projects are helping meet this need in small communities, where child care can be particularly hard to find,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “These new spaces will enable parents to work or dedicate themselves to other goals, helping local businesses and the well-being of the community. We thank the Province for its support and all the organizations involved for their efforts."
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.”
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 the Kootenay East and Nelson-Creston regions have saved $10 million ($5 million in each region).
- 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 (ELCC) Agreement.
- This is in addition to more than $323 million provided through the 2021-22 to 2024-25 Canada–British Columbia ELCC Agreement, which included $49.2 million through a one-time investment in 2021–2022 to support the early childhood care workforce.
- By March 2026, B.C. families will benefit from the funding of approximately 60,000 new licensed spaces for all ages of child care since the launch of ChildCareBC through provincial and federal support; this will increase to approximately 70,000 by March 2028.
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.