(File photo)

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

Help is on the way for cash-strapped B.C. parents struggling with expensive daycare fees and long waiting lists, say federal and provincial politicians after signing a bilateral child care agreement Friday.

The federal government’s investment of $153 million was announced in B.C.’s budget this week and is part of the province’s three-year plan to make child care more affordable as it works toward establishing a universal system.

“We all know that child care is expensive and hard to find, and for too long it’s been left to get worse,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s children’s minister, speaking in a Vancouver family centre while toddlers squealed and played.

“That’s left too many parents feeling squeezed because they can’t afford to take time off and they can’t afford the child care.”

The agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces, help care providers administer low-cost programs and apply new funding streams to train early childhood educators over three years. It will also expand child care for Indigenous children and kids with special needs.

Jonathan Wilkinson, the member of Parliament for North Vancouver, said the investment is similar to what the federal government has committed to other provinces as part of its $7.5 billion child care investment over the next 11 years. But he noted B.C. has unique challenges.

“Just like in the rest of Canada, raising a child in British Columbia can be very costly, and perhaps here in the Lower Mainland and in many other parts of British Columbia more costly than many other parts of the country,” he said.

The announcement had been scheduled for earlier this month but was abruptly cancelled by the federal government, leading B.C.’s Opposition Liberals to argue that the province’s actions on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion were taking a toll on federal-provincial relations.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley had banned the sale of B.C. wines to Alberta in response to B.C.’s proposal to limit diluted bitumen shipments, but she lifted that ban Thursday after B.C. Premier John Horgan announced his government would ask the courts to decide if it can restrict the shipments.

Both Wilkinson and Conroy said the previous cancellation had nothing to do with the pipeline dispute.

“The issue was simply one of scheduling,” said Wilkinson. “This is a very important issue for the federal government, as it is for the government of B.C.”

The B.C. budget earmarked an additional $1 billion for child care over the next three years. Beginning April 1, funding will be given to licensed care providers to cut $350 a month from the cost of a child care space, while a benefit of up to $1250 a month per child will start being paid to providers in September.

The province’s child care crunch is hard on families and the economy, because businesses are losing out on the skilled workers they need, said Conroy.

“Universal child care will allow parents to return to work secure in the knowledge that their children are being cared for by qualified early childhood educators.”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Anxiety amongst voters on amalgamation referendum

Non-binding referendum asks Victoria and Saanich residents to endorse citizens’ assembly

Victoria elementary students shake it out for earthquake preparedness

Search and Rescue dogs were also on scene to participate in the earthquake drill

Traffic delays minimized on Quadra after large boat blocks lane

Sail boat has shifted from its trailer bed near Quadra and Greenridge

UPDATE: Tent city campers told to leave Oak Bay, given outstanding bill

Police department delivers $1,882 bill for damages from fall of 2017

Victoria Royals defeat defending champion Broncos

Victoria’s six-game homestand continues this weekend

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Driving with dope: Police talk rules on cannabis in the car

Even though pot is legal, you can’t smoke in the car

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Trio of Saint Bernard find their ‘forever home’ after story goes viral

Edmonton Humane Society had put out the call to adopt Gasket, Gunther and Goliath

Nurses deliver 24,000 anti-violence postcards to B.C. Health Minister

Nurses delivered thousands of postcards to the front steps of the B.C. legislature, each carrying a message for violence prevention

Openly gay, female priest of B.C. church defying norms

Andrea Brennan serves Fernie at pivotal time in church’s history

Nova Scotia works to stop underage online cannabis sales

The government cannabis retailer moves to prevent workaround of online-age verification

Most Read