APPROXIMATELY 2,300 new child care spaces are coming to schools, community centres and other public facilities across Vancouver, making routines easier for busy parents and helping young children transition smoothly into the school system.
“When families have access to quality child care, they thrive and so do our communities and our economy,” said Premier John Horgan on Thursday. “Working with the City of Vancouver, we are creating more affordable child care spaces for more families. These new spaces will help families across the city, lifting them up and helping them to get ahead.”
Vancouver families can look forward to having as many as 2,300 new child care spaces funded over the next three years through this new partnership between the City of Vancouver, the Province and other sectoral partners.
“Increasing access to quality, affordable child care is one more way we’re helping families thrive in Vancouver and ensuring that our city works for everyone,” said Vancouver Mayort Kennedy Stewart. “This partnership between the City of Vancouver and the Province of B.C. will provide a proven economic return on investment while keeping our neighbourhoods vibrant and strong.”
The City of Vancouver will receive $33 million from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to fund new licensed child care spaces over the next three years, which will include a mix of spaces for children under the age of five, as well as spaces for school-age children.
“As a former early childhood educator myself, I know the importance of early learning for children, who learn the most from birth to the age of five,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Ensuring families can access affordable, quality child care also benefits our economy by allowing parents to enter the workforce. By partnering with public-sector organizations, we can quickly add child care where it’s most needed. The City of Vancouver has been forward-thinking in its approach to creating new spaces, and we’re thrilled to be working with them. We encourage other local governments to think big to bring child care to the families they serve, and we look forward to working with them on their own projects.”
The majority of spaces for young children will be located at elementary schools, community centres and other community facilities. The city will work with other public sector bodies, such as the Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Park Board and others to offer additional spaces for school-age children. More details will be available from the City of Vancouver as projects are confirmed.
“Vancouver parents have already seen the cost of living drop due to our affordability measures – and now we’re taking strides to make it easier to find child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “We know that child care is incredibly hard to find. By taking advantage of public spaces such as schools, libraries and community centres, these new facilities will offer a one-stop shop for parents, providing access to quality child care, as well as other essential services families need.”
Under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, child care providers can apply for funding to create new child care spaces at any time throughout the year under a new continuous application process.
Creating new licensed child care spaces is a key part of the Province’s Childcare BC plan and supports its commitment to give B.C. families access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it. Since July 2018, the Province has funded more than 8,000 new licensed child care spaces across all of its space creation programs throughout British Columbia. More new spaces will be announced as projects are approved.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, said: “Our government’s partnerships with local school boards allow us to add new child care spaces where they’re needed most, so more families can have the comfort of knowing their children have a convenient place to learn and play. This announcement is exciting news for Vancouver parents, and I’m pleased to know that B.C.’s schools are playing a key role in helping people have better access to child care in their communities.”