Shane Simpson, B.C. Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, played with the kids at the Kelowna YMCA during a visit in January. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Advocate says universal child care long overdue in B.C.

Lynell Anderson says $1 billion child care investment positive first step

It’s long overdue but there will be some growing pains in developing a publicly funded universal child care system in B.C., says child care advocate Lynell Anderson.

Anderson, with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., says her research on developing a child care system for the provincial government 10 years ago led her to the belief that publicly funded daycare, as opposed to offering parents financial subsidies to off-set their costs, was the best solution.

“This is an interesting and exciting time as the new budget has unveiled substantive and investment changes with regards to the future direction of child care,” said Anderson, referring to the NDP government’s $1 billion in new funding over the next three years to make substantial progress towards creating a universal child care system.

“We can begin to catch up to the 25 wealthiest countries in the world, of which Canada ranks the weakest, for child care support. Parents pay the highest fees and have the lowest access rate to child care. In Canada, B.C. falls behind most of the provinces, not just Quebec but also the eastern provinces, Ontario and Manitoba.

“We are in the place and space to turn the corner on the child care chaos that exists right now.”

Related: More early childhood educator positions created

While the NDP trumpeted the $10 a day child care fee promise during the election campaign, Anderson said it will take time to reach that ultimate goal. The initial strategy outlined in the budget calls for reduction of parent fees, to create 24,000 licensed daycare spaces, and improved wages for early child hood educators.

Among those first steps will be bringing down fees by $10 a day for full-time care, $7 for part-time care and no parent fees for families making under $40,000 a year, which is considered below the poverty line.

To administer these changes, the province is asking licensed daycare operators to opt in to the newly created Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, a process that is complicated for child care operators given some uncertainties over how the new accountability and oversight regulations the province will have over their businesses will work, and the time-frame of meeting the first program enrollment deadline of April 1.

Anderson met with child care operators in the Central Okanagan on Tuesday at the Kelowna Child Care Society office to discuss some of those issues.

“We are interested in sharing this new information provided by the B.C. budget announcement to our community and work together to understanding the similarities and differences between what has been proposed and what is being rolled out across the province,” said Amanda Turner, early years community developer in the Central Okanagan.

Anderson said looking forward, her advocacy coalition will push for higher wages for child care educators, investment needed to provide quality programing, encourage local municipalities to build child care planning resources into future community planning and look at the existing public building inventory space across the province for potential child care location expansion.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nine West Kelowna athletes to go to B.C. Winter Games

The athletes will compete in biathlon and cross country ski

Kelowna Toyota to attempt to break Guinness World Record for most stickers on a car

The event is being held to raise money for the Kelowna and West Kelowna fire departments

Rockets’ Nolan Foote traded to New Jersey Devils

The Devils acquired Foote and a 2020 first-round pick from the Lightning in exchange for Blake Coleman

The Coldest Night of Year walk returns to Kelowna Feb. 22

The event raises money for charities serving hungry, homeless and hurting people in the community

VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award

Leonard scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead Team LeBron to a 157-155 victory

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

Most Read