Universal Child Care

Child Care: What We Need and Why It Matters

by Rebecca Savory

On February 18, the BC Government will announce its 2020 Budget. We want to see further investment in child care to continue the work towards building a universal system that is accessible and affordable for all parents.

What are we asking from Government?

The BC government has already made major steps towards building a universal child care system that could provide accessible and affordable child care for all BC parents.

Here is what we want to see in BC Budget 2020 in order to continue momentum on child care:

  1. Funding
    In 2018, the BC government made a $1.3B investment in child care, to be spent over three years. In line with recommendations from the $10ADay Plan, we want to see a $200 million increase in operating funding annually. This will ensure the full implementation of a quality, public system within 8 - 10 years.
  2. A durable governance structure
    BC’s patchwork of isolated child care programs has resulted in high levels of operational fragility and no guarantee that programs exist where they are most needed. We’d like to see a shift from stand-alone programs to a durable governance structure that prioritizes public and community run programs.
  3. Raise the average pay of early childhood educators through a publicly funded provincial wage grid, mitigating the massive recruitment and retention crisis. Currently, existing licensed child care spaces in BC sit empty because there are no qualified educators to staff the programs. Low pay continues to drive educators out of the sector.
  4. Increase the number of $10 a day prototype sites across the province. The median cost of full-time, full-day child care in Vancouver is about $1,400 a month for an infant. Families at the $10aDay prototype sites are saving up to $4,200 a year, allowing many the option to return to work or school, boosting the province’s workforce and economy.
  5. Create a viable plan to quickly expand facilities and create thousands of new quality spaces across the province.

This is why it matters...

  1. Parents with $10 a day child care are saving up to $4,200 a year.
    Families of almost 55,000 young children in licensed child care are saving up to $4,200 annually in parent fees. Overall, parents are paying no more than $10 a day in 20,000 child care spaces across BC.
    Read more 
  2. If Canada implemented Quebec’s child care policies, we could add almost 300,000 people to our country’s workforce.
    The head of the Bank of Canada said Quebec’s child care policies are tools to achieve an overall stronger Canadian economy, noting that by increasing the “participation rate of prime-age women in the rest of Canada up to the level in Quebec, we could add almost 300,000 people to our country’s workforce”. In BC, a universal system would create an estimated 70,000 new jobs.
    Read more 
  3. 70% of parents with a child in care delayed their return to work while they waited for the space.
    In BC alone, 70% of families who currently have a child enrolled in child care say their return to work was delayed because a space was unavailable. Accessible and affordable child care is keeping parents (disproportionately women) out of the workforce. This has a direct impact on the gender pay gap and the wider movement for gender equality.
    Read more
  4. The median cost of full-time, full-day child care in Vancouver in 2018 was about $1,400 a month for an infant, $1,407 for a toddler, and $1,000 for a preschooler.
    Child care is often the biggest expense after housing and keeps many parents from returning to work.
    Read more 

A universal child care system would benefit everyone. It helps parents return to work, families leave income assistance, children have better outcomes, the business community is bolstered with a flood of employable prime-aged applicants and the BC economy benefits from nearly 70,000 new jobs.

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