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

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

Pianos return to Kelowna parks

The Pianos in Parks program was postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Certain crimes increased in Peachland during pandemic

Theft from vehicles, vehicle incidents, and break and enters have increased during the pandemic

UPDATE: YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Most Read