B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)

B.C. VOTES 2020

B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Since the 2017 B.C. election, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan’s promise to provide subsidized child care at $10 a day has been a point of contention. In the 2020 election, the urgency of getting people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic has turned up the heat on all parties.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson moved to match the NDP’s $10 a day promise Oct. 9, via a $1 billion program that would provide daycare at that rate per child for families with income up to $65,000. The rate would rise to $20 a day for family incomes up to $90,000 and $30 a day for families making up to $125,000.

“The only $10-a-day daycare in British Columbia right now is a federal pilot program that provides 2,000 spaces out of a total of 100,000 spaces in B.C.” Wilkinson said.

Horgan backed away from the across-the-board promise as his minority government dug into the issue, acknowledging it was a campaign slogan borrowed from the B.C. Federation of Labour. He also ran into opposition from his minority government partner, former Green leader Andrew Weaver, who objected to the flat $10 price tag and said child care should be free for low-income families.

RELATED: NDP promises another $1,000 pandemic payment

RELATED: B.C. Greens set 2045 goal for carbon-neutrality

RELATED: B.C. Liberals say they’ll eliminate small business tax

The Horgan government’s main initiative was the “affordable child care benefit,” where families register for subsidies to use licensed child care each year. It replaced the B.C. Liberal subsidy program, and the NDP says it has reached more people.

Debating the issue in the B.C. legislature in March, Katrina Chen, the NDP’s minister of state for child care, said the B.C. Liberal subsidies were reaching 21,411 families and 31,122 children.

“As of February of this year, over 66,000 children have been approved for the affordable child care benefit,” Chen said.

In its 2020 election platform, the NDP says its efforts are already delivering daycare to 32,700 families at $10 a day or less, with help from Ottawa.

The B.C. Green Party emphasizes early childhood education as well as daycare, with “professional wages” and training for existing child care workers. Leader Sonia Furstenau’s plan also includes encouraging employers to offer a four-day work week and telecommuting so parents would be more available to take care of their own children.

B.C. Greens:

Up to $500 a month for families with children under three and a stay-at-home parent

Increasing child care funding by a third over three years to cover new programs

Up to 25 hours per week of free early childhood education for ages three and four

B.C. NDP:

Expand the number of $10-a-day spaces with further federal assistance

Pass a law to protect “affordable, accessible, inclusive” child care

Create 22,000 new child care spaces with construction and modular structures

B.C. Liberals:

$1 billion to deliver $10- to $30-a-day daycare for families up to $125,000 income

A single online application form for all provincially funded daycare

A plan to create thousands of new spaces, detailed in the party platform


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drive up voting is popular with Victoria-Swan Lake voters at the Craigflower elementary polling station. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Drive up voting popular at Craigflower polling station in Victoria-Swan Lake

Nearly 13,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Victoria-Swan Lake riding

Oak Bay High voting station was slow and steady for the provincial election day, Oct. 24, 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Early voting reduces election day turnout in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

An estimated 15,918 mail-in ballots requested in Oak Bay-Gordon Head

This was the line-up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The short-up line speaks to the high number of votes, which have already been cast against the backdrop of COVID-19 by mail or in advanced voting. Voters, however, unanimously praised the safety measures in place, as well the convenience of the polling stations. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
‘Slow’ turnout at polls across Saanich North and the Islands

Peter Mason, district electoral officer, expects about 10,000 ballots to be cast

Polls close at 8 p.m. in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)
VIDEO: Esquimalt-Metchosin candidates reflect on campaign as polls close

An estimated 12,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding

Barb Wright and Cynthia Vance at the District Electoral Office for the Langford-Juan de Fuca (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Polls now closed in Langford-Juan de Fuca

An estimated 12,120 mail-in ballots were requested in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read