Thousands more child care spaces coming for B.C. families

B.C. families in 35 communities will soon have access to thousands of quality, licensed child care spaces as the Province marks a new milestone in its Childcare BC plan.

“The momentum of our Childcare BC plan continues to build despite the challenges British Columbia has been facing over the past months,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, on Friday. “We have now funded more than 20,000 new spaces in the past two years, and we remain committed to giving families better access to inclusive, quality affordable child care as we rebuild our economy.”

Since July 2020, when the Province announced a child care milestone of nearly 16,800 new licensed spaces funded through Childcare BC programs, an additional 3,634 new licensed child care spaces have been funded through the New Spaces Fund. Since July 2018, the Province has funded about 780 new spaces each month on average.

Among the successful projects for this funding intake, the Peace River North School District’s Board of Education is creating 116 child care spaces on the grounds of four elementary schools in Fort St. John. The district will deliver the child care programs, which are expected to be ready for families by January 2021.

“The board is excited about adding before- and after-school child care at four locations within our community,” said Helen Gilbert, Chair, Peace River North School District Board of Trustees. “Parents will have the convenience of child care in their neighbourhood school. Students will have fewer transitions in a day and life should be easier for many of our families.”

The YMCA of Greater Vancouver is getting funding to create 77 spaces at the Sprouts Child Care Centre, which will be located on the third floor of the Sprouts Early Childhood Development Hub in the Capstan Village neighbourhood of Richmond. This facility will be part of a larger housing development by Pinnacle Living Lands, which will transfer ownership to the City of Richmond upon completion. The centre is expected to be open for families in spring 2021.

“The YMCA is grateful to once again work alongside the Province of B.C. and the City of Richmond to deliver quality child care to families in this community,” said Kim Adamson, general manager of child care development, YMCA of Greater Vancouver. “We know critical learning takes place in the first six years of a child’s life – learning that requires a nurturing and caring environment, and we will certainly have that at Sprouts Child Care Centre. Our passionate and dedicated early childhood educators are looking forward to providing each child with every opportunity to connect with others, learn and develop the skills needed to become confident kids today and contributing, engaged adults in the future.”

An additional 4,110 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total to more than 24,500 spaces since July 2017.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of child care, not just for children and families, but for our communities and the economy,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “These more than 3,600 new child care spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history and show our ongoing commitment to building a child care system that benefits families across the whole province.”

Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

“Quality, accessible, public child care is a crucial component to B.C.’s economic recovery. This investment is needed now more than ever,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “Expanding access to public child care and early childhood education spaces has been foundational to this minority government, and the new licensed spaces are one step closer to ensuring all of our children have access to high-quality education and are set up for success.”

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