‘There’s no roadmap’: $20 a day daycare promised in B.C.’s 2022 Budget

Mother-of-two Christie Cooper says she is hopeful about the announcement of $20 a day daycare.

The BC NDP has long touted the promise of $10 a day daycare, but we’re not quite there yet.

“We said we would build it out over the next 10 years…and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing,” said Selena Robinson, B.C.’s Finance Minister in Wednesday’s question period.

In Tuesday’s 2022 budget announcement, the province is promising more immediately, to cut child care fees in half to an average of $20 a day.

“This is a huge win for families and one this government has pushed for since day one,” said Minister Robinson during Tuesday’s budget announcement in question period.

The Province is promising that parents of kids five and under will see $20 per day daycare by the end of 2023. Parents of toddlers will see the change by the 2023 school year.

It’s something child care advocates say, is a major step towards universal child care in B.C.

“This is the year think parents are really going to see an impact around affordability and we’re going to see some serious expansion,” said Sharon Gregson, Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC on Tuesday.

And it’s good news for mother-of-two Christie Cooper, who, because of lengthy waitlists and inadequate support for children with disabilities, has had to stay home to take care of her kids.

“We’ve just had to take the hit financially,” said Cooper. “$20 a day would be more manageable, but then there’s still the issue of finding the spot.”

But the province is promising to invest in creating spaces as well.

With the help of $3.2 billion from Ottawa over the next 5 years, and $284 million provincially this year, not only will daycare fees be reduced, but the government is set on expanding education of early educators, wage enhancement, and creating more daycare spaces.

Meanwhile, local daycare providers so far are skeptical and feel left in the dark as to how this funding will be rolled out.

“We’ve already had parents asking about the $20/day daycare,” said Meagan Brame, owner of Saxe Point Daycare. “I’m like yes, we heard that too, but I’ve heard nothing more than that, unfortunately,”

And Liberal critics, while they support universal childcare say the numbers aren’t adding up.

“I do think it’s an empty promise,” said Karin Kirkpatrick BC Liberal critic for education, children, family development, & childcare.

“There’s no roadmap. And when I look at the budget, I don’t see the dollars that would allow us to do that,” Kirkpatrick said.

Meanwhile, the province is still aiming for $10 a day daycare, with federal support, in the spring of 2026.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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