Thousands of families struggling with the shortage of quality child care will benefit from the 22,000 new licensed spaces coming over the next three years.
“Parents are struggling to find quality, affordable child care, and it’s time we made the investments that are good for families, and for our economy,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Creating more licensed, affordable child care spaces is a key part of our new Childcare BC plan, so parents can have the peace of mind they need and quality care they can rely on.”
The new spaces will be created through a $221-million investment in the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, which replaces the Child Care Major Capital Funding Program.
These new child care spaces will be more affordable, and the funding will be easier to access for private-sector, non-profit and public-sector child care providers. The fund will continue to support the creation of spaces on school grounds, making life easier for families.
“Too many parents are dealing with a lack of good options when it comes to child care, and that’s only made worse as spaces close due to financial pressures on child care operators,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “With our Childcare BC plan, we’re letting operators and parents know that government is on their side, and investing in their future. Creating these new spaces is the latest step in making child care more available and affordable for more families.”
As part of this investment, government will be looking to leverage existing facilities – on school grounds, in churches, at recreation centres and other public places – to expand child care for B.C. families. As well, funding preference will continue to be given to communities with the greatest need, such as fast-developing urban centres, and Indigenous, rural and remote communities. Creating infant and toddler spaces will be a priority.
“We know many families are struggling to find child care in Coquitlam,” said Amy Reid, director of Step by Step Child Development Society, an established non-profit centre in the Tri-Cities. “We want to see more families having access to affordable and inclusive care. We are hopeful this new fund will support the development of partnerships, resulting in increased access to quality care for families.”
As part of its commitment to expanding quality child care throughout the province, the government is working to address wages, recruitment and retention for early childhood educators. More information on these changes will be available later in the coming months.