Canada’s child care advocates say the child care funding agreement reached between the Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia provides a solid framework for building a universal public system of early learning and child care programs and services. As a result, all BC families will in good time, and as quickly as possible, have access to high quality affordable services delivered by equitably compensated qualified early childhood educators.
“We celebrate this first federal-provincial agreement because it includes the key elements necessary to transform child care in BC and because it serves as an excellent model for the funding agreements still to be negotiated with each of the other provinces and territories,” said Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now, Canada’s national child care advocacy association.
Ballantyne said the following aspects of the agreement were particularly important:
- Parent fees will be reduced to an average of $10 per day for licensed child care for children under 6 within five years
- Affordability, and quality improvement including increases in workforce compensation and supports will be achieved through direct public funding of licenced services–this spells the start of a fully publicly funded and managed system of early learning and child care
- Public funding for the expansion of licensed child care services will be directed to public and not-for-profit institutions to ensure non-profit provision of services
- The compensation and working conditions of those working in child care will be improved and made equitable through the introduction of a provincial wage grid and other supports
Child care advocates have been saying for the last fifty years that accessible and inclusive high quality child care is essential to the healthy development of children, the wellbeing of families, and to the economic security of mothers with young children because without child care they cannot access the paid labour force. The pandemic confirmed how central child care is for parents in the workforce and to the economy.
“We have been saying over and over again that governments must take responsibility for the supply of early learning and child care services—its quality, availability and affordability—and this agreement puts us on the right path to get there, and it sets clear goals and timetables to ensure ongoing progress,” said Ballantyne.
We congratulate the Government of Canada and British Columbia for working together to get it right.