The B.C. government said Wednesday new childcare spaces continue to be created in the province as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen and parliamentary secretary for gender equity Mitzi Dean held a news conference on Wednesday, saying rougly 700 new spaces per month have been created in the province so far this year.
“We continue to fund new spaces. We continue to make childcare affordable,” Chen said Wednesday.
Since March 2020, when the province announced a child care milestone of more than 13,000 new licensed spaces, an additional 3,160 new licensed child care spaces have been funded throughout the province under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.
READ MORE: 374 new childcare spaces announced for Nanaimo, Port Alberni
Approximately 32,000 B.C. parents are now paying just $10 per day for childcare, the government said.
According to the B.C. government, since July 2018, nearly 16,800 new childcare spaces have opened up in the province, says the B.C. government.
“Despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, our goal to create new child care spaces throughout the province continues to gain momentum,” Chen said. “We’ve been able to fund nearly 16,800 new spaces in the past two years, helping to fulfil our promise of better, more affordable child care options for children and families throughout B.C.”
On Vancouver Island, School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) has received the majority of the region’s 536 newly approved spaces to proceed with 10 projects that will create licensed child care spaces on school grounds.
In addition to the projects on school grounds, Nanaimo will receive Childcare BC New Spaces funding to support two non-profit projects – one through the Discover Montessori Society and one through the Nanaimo Innovation Academy Foundation.
“I’m happy to welcome more new child care projects to Nanaimo so that families have more options for care,” Malcolmson said.
“Our government is making it easier to offer child care on school grounds, which is more convenient for parents and helps provide kids with a smoother transition to kindergarten.”
The government also highlighted recent changes made to the School Act to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy.
An additional 4,110 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total to nearly 20,900 spaces in B.C. since July 2017.