File photo.

File photo.

The province says communities can now access nearly $17 million in funding to plan and build licensed child care spaces.

The NDP government and Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) announced two partnerships programs Tuesday morning.

One of the programs will see $13.7 million invested by the province to a Community Child Care Space Creation initiative to create 1,370 spaces focussed on infant and toddler care.

The funding comes from the province’s Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government.

Local governments and regional districts are eligible to receive $1 million per project through the new program.

Priority will be given to build spaces that serve infants and toddlers, offer care outside regular business hours, operated by a public body or non-profit and benefit underserved populations.

The province says that includes Indigenous families and communities, lower-income families, parents under 25-years-old who are completing secondary education and minority language and cultural groups including recent immigrants and refugees and francophone families.

The second partnership is for $3 million in provincial funding to UBCM to manage a Community Child Care Planning grant program.

It will allow local governments to identify specific needs for child care spaces and apply for up to $25,000 that is earmarked for communities that have the interest to create new child care spaces over the next 10 years.