Text of the press release:
It's about time the provincial government spoke up for B.C. families on the issue of child care, the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) said today.
"It's late in the game, but we are pleased to see the B.C. minister responsible for child care finally speaking up for B.C. families," said George Heyman, BCGEU president. "Not only is it the right thing to do, the public demands it."
Heyman referred to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted in April that showed an overwhelming 90 percent of British Columbians, whether they personally need it or not, support child care for families who do.
"Two-thirds of British Columbians polled disapprove of the Harper Conservatives scrapping the federal-provincial child care agreements and yet the provincial government has until now sat silent while the federal government replaced a long-awaited national child care system with a piece-meal plan that relies on tax incentives and grants to businesses and groups to create child care spaces, and no money to maintain them," Heyman said.
The poll also showed a majority of British Columbians&emdash;79 percent&emdash;said that after cutting $40 million in child care funding over the past three years it's time the provincial government invested more in the children of working families.
"These cuts have forced child care centres to close or reduce spaces, lay off early childhood educators, and raise parent fees by as much as 30 percent," Heyman said.
Heyman urged Minister Linda Reid to push harder for more federal funding to create affordable, accessible child care for B.C. families.
"The $1,200 a year new taxable family allowance doesn't come close to covering the real cost of child care, nor will it create child care spaces. The reality is, child care in B.C. has reached critical mass. There are seemingly endless waiting lists. Fees are out of reach for many families. And there simply aren't enough child care spaces to meet the demand.
"Our children are B.C.'s future. The time to invest in them through quality child care and early childhood education is now."