Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Hints at Improving Childcare but Advocates Say Complete Plan Is Key

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Hints at Improving Childcare but Advocates Say Complete Plan Is Key

Article excerpt

Complete childcare plan needed: advocates


VANCOUVER - British Columbia's government is promising to give province-wide childcare a boost, but the pledge comes hand-in-hand with the premier's criticism of another provincial daycare system that most closely resembles what advocates say is needed.

One day after the throne speech hinted at new measures to come, Premier Christy Clark said that by charging parents a flat $7 fee per day, Quebec's daycare system is far too expensive.

Lobbyists in B.C. have been campaigning for childcare at a rate of $10 per day.

"I think many Quebecers are recognizing that it's unaffordable to provide daycare at the same rate universally to people who are very, very wealthy as to people who are not so wealthy," she told reporters in Victoria on Wednesday.

But Clark went on to say childcare is an important issue for her and that more details of her government's upcoming plans will be revealed closer to the budget next Tuesday.

Advocates like Emily Mlieczko, executive director of the Early Childhood Educators of B.C., said Clark's response was typical under a system where, in her view, children's early years already get short-shrift.

"We understand that this will be a generational shift, that it will take time to implement a full plan," she said in an interview. "But we need a government to take the initiative to move forward and ... have a commitment to developing one."

The campaign for one flat fee has garnered the support of several organizations and thousands of families, including 3,000 who signed postcards encouraging the government to take a closer look leading up to the province's first Family Day. The campaign also calls for free care for families making under $40,000 a year.

But Mlieczko said the scheme has not made any headway with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and so she doesn't expect a reversal any time soon.

The throne speech provided a vague outline of priorities, stating there will be additional measures to support families, such as by improving access and affordability of childcare. …

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