Experts weigh in on child care investment
With the announcement of a $1 billion investment towards BC child care from the provincial government's budget, there's lots of potential for progress towards affordable and accessible child care for all BC residents.
This may include a proposed $10 a day child care program could ease the burden of long waitlists and high parent fees for BC families.
There is, however, some concern that such a plan could lead to additional taxes, but child care expert Lynelle Anderson says differently.
"When we invest in making child care more affordable and high quality, it pays for itself," says Anderson. "Because more women are able to re-enter the workforce."
Young women are the majority of those recruited in the child care industry, but Kids Daycare President Robert Southam says low recruitment numbers have made for plenty of unused space that could be used for child care.
"The main crisis for us today, certainly in Kelowna, is there's infant/toddler spaces that are closed simply because we can't find enough educators," says Southam.
To remedy this, Melissa Hunt, Director of the Kelowna Child Care Society, says a main focus of the funding should be giving caregivers better wages.
"We need to support our early childhood educators with advocating for higher wages to retain and recruit them into the profession," says Hunt.
The $1 billion investment is the largest investment into BC's child care system to date, and is expected to be used over the next 3 years.