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Universal child-care plan shelved [CA-BC]

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McLintock, Barbara
Publication Date: 
31 Jul 2001

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The provincial government has quietly axed plans to expand universal affordable child care.

However, the current program to provide universal before-and-after school care for $7 a day will survive, at least in the short term.

The universal child care plan, a highlight of the NDP's campaign platform in the last election, was scheduled to be expanded to include infants and toddlers on Jan.1. But those plans have now been scrapped.

Mini-budget documents released Monday did not specifically mention the child-care program, but stated that $24 million would be saved through "program reductions since March.''

Government officials confirmed that $16 million of that would come through changes to the child-care plan.

Liberal MLAs said during the election campaign that they doubted the efficacy of a universal plan, and would probably prefer to put child-care dollars "where they are needed most.''

Budget papers also revealed other cuts which the government has already made but did not announce to the public.

They include:

$10 million from labour and skills training programs, particularly those designed to help retrain people who've been on welfare.

$8 million from programs that were previously run through the Ministry of Volunteers and Co-operatives, mainly grants for some volunteer groups and for the development of "green communities.''

$7 million from the Ministry of Air, Land and Water Protection, mainly grants relating to climate change programs and for the development of more ``green'' businesses.

Reproduced from the Times-Colonist.