Update: Provincial Office for the Early Years

  • Early Years Centres: In 2015/16, 14 new Early Years Centres were added, bringing the total number of sites to 26. In addition, a third call for proposals was announced in 2015/16 and in early spring, it was announced that 21 additional B.C. Early Years Centres will join the network bringing the total to 47 sites. Ten of these new locations will serve Aboriginal communities.
  • Early Childhood Educator Bursary Program: Under the BC Early Years Strategy, $500,000 in new funds have been contributed to the Early Childhood Educator Bursary Program in 2015/16. As of February 2016, 757 students have been supported, including 118 Aboriginal students.
  • Child Care Major Capital Funding: In the 2015/16, 1,488 spaces were funded, bringing the total new spaces funded under the Major Capital Program to 2,400 since 2013/14. The goal is to create 13,000 new spaces by 2020. Priority was given to facilities located on school grounds or co-located with other amenities.  In 2015/16, $8.2M was awarded to build new child care spaces including:
    • 8 projects creating over 430 spaces on school grounds
    • 7 projects creating 245 spaces co-located with other family support programs
    • 5 Aboriginal-focused projects creating over 200 spaces
  • Enhanced Funding for Aboriginal Infant Development Program (AIDP) and Aboriginal Supported Child Development Program (ASCD):   Under the B.C. Early Years Strategy, these programs received a $2 million enhancement in funding beginning in the 2015/16 year to better serve Aboriginal families in many communities across the province, with the hope that 400 more Aboriginal children will have access to these important early intervention services.
  • Enhanced Online Child Care Map:   In 2015/16, improvements were developed to the Province’s online child care map. As of spring 2016, new features will help families search for child care near their home or work and licensed child care operators will be able to profile their facility and indicating if they have vacant spaces.
  • Early Childhood Tax Benefit:  As of April 1st, 2015, families in B.C. began receiving the B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit to help with the cost of raising children under age of 6.
  • Child Care Resource and Referral Review:  In 2015/16, the Provincial Office of the Early Years and the Ministry of Children and Family Development commissioned an independent review of the Child Care Resource and Referral program to better understand how the mandate and activities carried out under this program support the goals of the B.C. Early Years Strategy.  
  • Occupation Standards for Early Childhood Educators: This is an ongoing project.
  • Review of StrongStart BC: In 2015/16, the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Office for the Early Years partnered to undertake a review of StrongStart B.C. The review should be complete by late Fall 2016.
  • Professional Development Web Portal:   In 2015/16, the Provincial Office for the Early Years began development of an online Professional Development Portal for early childhood educators and others employed in the child care sector (e.g. behavioural interventionists and licensing officers). A pilot version of the portal is planned tobe operational within one year.
  • Review of Local Early Years Planning:  In 2015 the Provincial Office for the Early Years undertook a review of local early years planning initiatives A copy of a report on the findings will be made available on the Provincial Office for the Early Years website.
  • Superintendent of the Early Years:   In April 2015, a new position—the Superintendent of the Early Years—was established. The Superintendent is a joint appointment by the Ministry of Education and the Provincial Office of the Early Years. The work of the Superintendent is to lead the development of high impact strategic stakeholder relationships across school districts in support of the BC Early Years Strategy.
  • Scan of School District Promising Practices:  In Fall/Winter of 2015, the Superintendent for the Early Years conducted interviews with District Superintendents in all 60 school districts to identify the programs, policies, and initiatives that each school district had in place related to the early years. The purpose of the review and report is to share best practices and also to identify areas for further exploration.
  • New Multi-media Awareness Materials:   Provincial Office for the Early Years produced three short videos with accompanying posters highlighting the importance of the early years. They are designed to appeal to an audience outside of the early years sector, and can be used by communities to heighten awareness and to entice new partners to become engaged in the early years. To access the materials, see our homepage: mcf.gov.bc.ca/early_years/index.htm

Access the full update here.