Families must wait until April 2015 to receive the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit introduced in Budget 2013 that will NOT “improve the affordability of child care and assist families with the cost of raising young children”.
“At $55 a month this benefit does not address child care affordability. The current cost of enrolling a toddler in an East Vancouver child care centre is $59 per day,” said Sharon Gregson, Coalition of Child Care Advocates spokesperson. In 2010 the average full-time fee for a two year old was $850 a month -- $190 more than the proposed annual benefit.
For less than government plans to spend on this benefit, they could make a real difference by bringing fees for infant and toddler child care spaces down to $10 a day.
High quality, affordable, and accessible child care is a vital employment support for parents and a logical companion to the Clark government’s hyper advertized BC Jobs Plan -- yet logic has once again escaped them. And inexplicably they have ignored the 100,000+ British Columbian who called on government to start implementing the $10/day Child Care Plan.
In addition to the delayed tax benefit Budget 2013 allocates $76 million over 3 years for its Early Years Strategy almost 70% of which is designated for fiscal 2015/16. A mere $32 million over 3 years is for the creation of new spaces. Who among BC’s working families will be able to afford to use them?
Almost 60% of the $76 million allocation is for strengthening coordination and somehow improving the quality of early years services. One-time only funding is not the stable system building approach BC needs. Coordinating services that barely exist across the province is laughable.
“If this represents the Liberal child care election platform we will expect the other parties to do a whole lot better,” said Susan Harney, Chair of the Coalition of Child Care Advocates.