Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, has released the following statement for the child care month of May:
“Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life. Child care helps give children access to quality early learning programs and enables parents to pursue work, education and opportunity. Quality early care and learning programs contribute to children’s healthy development and celebrate and honour children’s identity and language.
“For years, parents in B.C. were left with a patchwork system where child care was treated as a luxury. As we enter the fifth year of our 10-year ChildCareBC plan, we are making significant progress to turn the corner and reverse this. Since launching our plan in 2018, we have been working hard through ChildCareBC to build spaces, lower fees and train qualified professionals.
“Tens of thousands of parents are already saving up to $1,600 a month per child through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, and thousands more are paying $10 a day or less in our $10 a Day sites. Together with federal investments, average child care fees will be cut by 50% from 2019 levels for families with children under five by the end of 2022.
“We know that expanding the child care system requires new early childhood educators (ECEs), the workforce behind the workforce and the heart of child care. As we enter into Child Care Month, I want to thank the thousands of B.C. child care professionals and celebrate and honour the work you do today and every day caring for our children. British Columbians are grateful for your hard work, sacrifice and dedication, especially during the past two years of the pandemic.
“In recognition of your valuable contribution to the fabric of B.C., we have invested in providing bursaries, doubling the number of ECE student spaces at post-secondary schools, and enhancing ECE wages by $4 per hour.
“Investing in child care and the early years is good for children and families, communities, and the economy. That’s why we’re building a future where access to affordable child care is a core service that’s available to families when and where they need it. We know there is more work to do, and we’re committed to continuing our progress for B.C. families.
“Join me in celebrating Child Care Month and all child care professionals and providers – whether private, public, in-home, non-profit, group, preschool, or school-age – that give our children such a great start in their young lives and help build a StrongerBC for everyone.”