Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

The province will double the number of $10-a-day child care spaces available to families in B.C. as part of its 2021 budget rolled out Tuesday (April 20).

The child care funding released in this budget totals $223 million over three years. Of that money, $111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces, across 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Viveca Ellis, provincial organizer at the Single Mothers’ Alliance for Gender & Economic Justice, said the province missed out on an opportunity to commit to a “truly universal” child care system.

“At this time, the province is opting to continue with the subsidy application model, which is cumbersome and ineffective,” Ellis said, particularly for single mothers who may struggle to find time to navigate the government’s systems.

That issue hits some groups more than others, she added.

“The lone mother led families that are in some of the toughest situations and the most severe poverty do tend to be predominantly racialized and Indigenous lone mothers – and we do hear from these members that they find this system challenging to navigate and confusing.”

Even when women can navigate the system of subsidies, Ellis said that just finding spots for their children proves to be another challenge.

“We need many more spots than just the couple of thousands that are being added at this time,” she said. “We needed at least triple the amount of $10 a day subsidized spaces that this budget is allowing.”

Generation Squeeze founder Paul Kershaw said that the lack of across the board $10-a-day child care is a compromise that will only increase the “generational squeeze” being felt by many young families.

“It’s fair to say this provincial budget does not deliver on promises to child care,” he told reporters, adding that the province needs to play an active role in bringing down the costs for young families.

“It is not enough for the province to simply bank on the big child care announcement made in the federal budget,” he added. “Ottawa still requires an active provincial partner to bring about the $10-a-day child care vision. BC Budget 2021 reveals that our government does not plan to be as active as it promised during the last election. That’s a shame.”

However, Ellis said the additional $4-per-hour for early childcare educators is a “very welcome and necessary” move. The increase moves up early childhood educator salaries to as much as $23-an-hour and will cost the B.C. government $94 million.

“It is a predominantly female dominated sector and for far, far too long, the wages have been far too low,” Ellis said, adding that she hopes to see “significant” future raises scheduled for upcoming years.

In a statement, Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU which represents many child care workers across B.C., also lauded the news.

The province’s child care funding will also expand the Seamless Day Pilot to 20 additional school districts, up from the current four. The program, Finance Minister Selina Robinson said, will be a “life changer” for families with multiple children by allowing them to drop off both school and pre-school aged kids at the same facility.

Additional child care funding in the 2021 budget includes $20 million in health and safety grants for child care providers, 110 new post-secondary seats for early childhood educators, and $20 million over three years to add 400 spaces to Aboriginal Head Start program.

READ MORE: National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

READ MORE: Federal Budget 2021: Liberals pledge $30B for child care with eye to reducing fees

For more on the 2021 B.C. Budget, click here.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

2021 B.C. Budgetchild care policy

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

Just Posted

A memorial to former Abbotsford and RCMP police officer Shinder Kirk in Cedar, B.C. Kirk died in a car accident on Cedar Road in December 2018. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Trial begins in Nanaimo for man involved in car crash that killed retired police sergeant

RCMP accident reconstructionist takes stand in trial of Conrad Nikolaus Wetten

Next week Nanaimo singer Laura Kelsey is releasing her new single A Foolish Thing and its accompanying music video. (Video still courtesy Greg Nuspel)
Nanaimo singer joined by wolf, dancers in new music video

‘A Foolish Thing’ is Laura Kelsey’s first professionally made single in seven years

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

Two semi trucks collided on the Nanaimo Parkway just north of Northfield Road on Wednesday morning, May 5. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: Semi truck driver now in stable condition following this week’s crash on Nanaimo Parkway

RCMP repeat call for any dashcam footage around 7:40 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5

Phone companies have the expertise to be able to address the problem of phone scams, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Phone companies should crack down on scammers

It’s time for these companies to be held accountable, says letter writer

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read