Time for Affordable Child Care in BC

 Photo Credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash Free Stock Photos

Photo Credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash Free Stock Photos

We spoke with Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the $10aday childcare plan.  Sharon commented that, as workers in preventive health and family support programs, we all see, on a daily basis, families who are struggling to meet basic necessities and who are doing their best to cope.  They want to be able to access education and training, to work, to participate in their communities and to make sure their families are cared for and healthy.

The message Sharon would like to share is:

  • The status quo is not acceptable.
  • Tweaking the existing system is not acceptable.
  • Adding a few more dollars to subsidies or adding a few more subsidized places is not going to solve the problem. 

The $10aday plan sets licensed childcare at $10 a day for all families, with no fees at all for families that make less than $40,000 a year. 

As well, the plan addresses key issues for families and for workers in the sector:

  • Ensuring that new licensed spaces are available to vulnerable families.
  • Ensuring more vulnerable families have access locally to licensed childcare spaces.
  • Ensuring that workers in the sector (mostly women) are paid a decent wage for their work. Often these workers cannot currently afford licensed childcare costs for their own children.  The plan includes $25 an hour wage average for all workers in family childcare, multi-age and group childcare licensed spaces, not only in centres.

Two key points for vulnerable families are:

  • Access (more spaces, prioritizing local families).
  • Not having to jump through subsidy hoops; free for families earning under $40,000.

Sharon emphasizes that this is not just a plan for Vancouver.  It is a province-wide plan supported by groups around the province. 

TAKE ACTION

There will be a week of action, starting March 1, 2017, focusing on:

  • Making child care visible
  • Pointing out that the 10aday plan is the solution to the current childcare crisis

Text the word “sign” to 604-670-4911 and that will automatically add to the petition.

Remember, too, that there is a provincial election coming up on May 9.  Childcare is an election issue for all parties.  Sharon stresses the importance of making yourself aware of the issues and the platforms of candidates and parties, and using your vote strategically. 

In their Socio-Economic Impact Analysis of the $10aDay Child Care Plan for British Columbia, released in January, 2017, Robert Fairholm of the Centre for Spatial Economics and Lynell Anderson CPA, CGA, conclude:

The analysis projects that full implementation of the $10aDay Plan will have a significant and positive impact on GDP and jobs, and will generate sufficient overall government sector revenues to pay for the additional government spending required to build and operate the system.

The business case they make is that “relatively conservative estimates suggest that business-related gains will result in a GDP increase of around $1.2 billion, and full-time equivalent employment growth of approximately 14,000.”

Spokesperson for the $10aDay Campaign, Sharon Gregson, believes the study confirms that the $10aDay “will provide significant benefits to single mothers, and help many families to leave social assistance, which will reduce income inequality.”

Emily Mlieczko, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Educators of BC comments, “The projected benefits to government are shared between the BC and federal governments, so a cost-sharing approach to financing the $10aDay Plan makes sense.  With new federal funding committed to child care this is a perfect time for the BC government to build a system that ensures all families with young children have access to stable, supportive and affordable child care in their communities.”

For more details on the study findings, prepared for the Early Childhood Educators of BC, including the costing review; benefits review; and impacts of the $10aDay Plan, go to www.10aday.ca