New child care spaces coming to Burnaby

KATRINA Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, on Monday announced that the majority of Burnaby’s 682 newly approved spaces are the result of a partnership between the Burnaby School District and the City of Burnaby.

“These new spaces are being created through the collective strengths of our partners,” said Chen. “The City of Burnaby and the Burnaby School District have been among the first to step up and work with the Province to deliver hundreds of spaces at a time. It’s this kind of critical mass we want to see more of for all communities, and recent proposed changes to the School Act are designed to make it easier for school boards to operate before- and after-school spaces.”

Changes to the School Act will also allow school boards to prioritize available space and create programs based on the unique needs of their community, as well as require them to create an inclusive child care policy.

“Safe, affordable, licensed care gives parents and guardians the peace of mind they need to go to work or school – knowing they have quality care they can rely on close to home,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Our government is paving the way to ensure more child care is offered on school grounds, giving Burnaby families more supports and services.”

The Burnaby School District is partnering with the Province and the City of Burnaby to create 601 new spaces at eight different locations on school district property, with six located on elementary school properties. Operators will provide inclusive environments for children, including serving those with extra-support needs, as well as vulnerable populations, Indigenous communities and families who are new to Canada.

In addition, Doxa Education Group is creating 81 new spaces in Burnaby.

The new spaces are part of the fastest provincewide creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, bring the total to more than 17,000 spaces since July 2017.

Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month per child, for a total of more than $400 million going to families through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative. Through these programs, almost 29,000 children have received child care for no more than $10 a day.

Mike Hurley, Mayor of Burnaby, said: “High-quality, affordable child care helps families choose to live and work in Burnaby. That helps our business community maintain and attract the workforce they need to keep our economy strong.”

Gary Wong, Chair, Burnaby Board of Education, said: “The spaces we’re announcing today represent a significant increase at a district level. Burnaby families need everyone in the community to pull together to help, and that’s what’s happening through partnerships with the provincial government, the City of Burnaby and our school district. We’ve been a leader for more than 35 years in enabling space in our schools and on our properties for service providers to offer high quality child care.”

Christine Hui, Director, Doxa Education Group, added: “We are grateful for the funding from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund. This will allow us to better serve the children and the families of Burnaby. We have a vision to create a high-quality child care centre where it will be more than just a place parents drop off their children, but a place where children grow and develop a strong sense of self, love, collaboration and creativity. This funding will contribute significantly to actualize our vision.”

Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North, Anne Kang, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake, and Raj Chouhan, MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds, emphasized the fact that these new child care spaces will make a big difference for many families in the community.

Quick Facts about child care in Burnaby:

* This recent investment in 682 spaces means that a total of 977 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in Burnaby since July 2018.

* The school district projects are being created as part of their $35.7-million plan to add nearly 800 new child care spaces to the community. The Burnaby School District provides the sites for the projects, with the city contributing capital costs. Project completion dates range from January 2020 to December 2022.

* The City of Burnaby is receiving a $25,000 grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ Community Child Care Planning Grant Program to help create a long-term child care plan to support families in the community.

* Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in Burnaby save more than $21 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.

* In November 2018, four child care providers in Burnaby were selected to deliver low-cost child care as Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites:
– Fairhaven Children’s Centre is providing 37 child care spaces: 12 for children under 36 months and 25 for children aged three years to kindergarten.

– Burnaby South Childcare is providing 24 child care spaces for children under 36 months.

– Bee Daycare is providing eight multi-age child care spaces.

– Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers Child Care is providing 59 child care spaces: 34 for children under 36 months and 25 for children aged three years to kindergarten.

* Through its ECE (early childhood educator) wage enhancement, the Province has provided more than $1.2 million for ECEs in Burnaby.