B.C. NDP announces proposal to lower fees for infant and toddler care

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      The B.C. NDP released a platform pledge today (April 18) to reduce fees and expand spaces for infant and toddler childcare.

      NDP Leader Adrian Dix outlined a three-year plan to reduce fees for existing licensed infant and toddler care by 20 percent, and increase spaces where the need is greatest. If elected, the party says it would spend $100 million over three years on the plan, starting with $10 million in 2013/2014.

      “Lack of affordable infant and toddler care is a major barrier to many women, especially single mothers, returning to the workforce,” Dix said in a news release. “Childcare is the second highest family expense after housing, putting financial pressure on middle income households and putting childcare out of reach for lower income parents.”

      According to the NDP, the reduction in fees would affect about 12,000 families, and save each about $2,000 a year.

      Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., said she was “very pleased” to see the announcement.

      “We were calling for first steps to address affordability for parents with infants and toddlers, and that’s where this NDP announcement starts, so we’re very pleased to see that,” she told the Straight by phone.

      According to Gregson, care for toddlers and infants is where the greatest crisis exists in the child-care sector, with parents facing longer waiting lists and fees that are in some cases almost twice as high.

      Gregson said her group will continue to press for steps toward the $10-per-day child-care plan the coalition has been advocating for.

      “We will continue the momentum, calling for the $10-a-day plan, which includes reducing fees further and building more spaces and improving wages of early childhood educators,” she said.

      In addition to the child-care announcement, Dix also pledged today to invest $100 million annually in a plan intended to improve classroom learning conditions by hiring new teachers, teaching assistants, librarians, and counsellors.

      The NDP have stated they will gradually release their election platform during the first eight days of the campaign. Wednesday (April 18), Dix said the party would spend $100 million annually on a student grants program, and $40 million on skills training.

      Premier Christy Clark released the full B.C. Liberal platform on Monday (April 15). 



      Putting families first, one corporation at a time

      Apr 18, 2013 at 7:15pm

      It has been unfortunate for families in BC because they where soon forgotten once Clark got into office.
      It explains the significant drop in Liberal support and the channel changed when Christie tunes in to her insignificant public now that she has blown the ethnic vote.

      Greg Johansen

      Apr 18, 2013 at 9:02pm

      Sounds awesome. How will it be funded? Is there a detailed budget from the NDP available yet?

      Ted Alcuitas

      Apr 19, 2013 at 8:37am

      These are good initiatives but really do not address the issue of childcare in this country.

      A piece-meal solution by provinces (Quebec has the best childcare program) will not solve the need for a national childcare program.

      That is why the continued reliance on the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) as Canada’s de-facto childcare program.

      Years ago, the Liberal Party proposed a National Day Care policy which was shut down by the Conservatives as too expensive. Instead, they came up with their $100/child/month gambit that helped them win the election. I am not aware of an NDP policy on this issue.

      In the current controversy of banks replacing workers with foreign temporary workers, the plight of domestic workers has been forgotten.

      In fact, the much-vaunted Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) was modeled after the LCP.

      But we don’t see people up in arms against the program especially from stakeholders who benefit from it as not only a de-facto childcare but also house care and all the associated work that goes with it.

      Suddenly ‘foreign’ becomes a dirty word but domestic workers do not ‘replace’ white-collar bank employees working in the ivory towers, so it does not disturb our conscience.

      If the NDP is elected, they should seriously look at the issue of childcare and demand a national dialogue to revisit it.

      If not, all these gestures are hollow and will be forgotten as soon as the election is over.

      Just as a reminder.

      Does anybody remember the photo-op by Christy Clark before she became leader of the Liberal Party bringing her newborn son to the House with a Filipina nanny in tow?

      Indeed, the hands that rock the cradle of this country are not by their own mothers but by foreign temporary workers paid less than your auto mechanic!

      Tom Kertes

      Apr 19, 2013 at 9:13am

      Investments in early care and learning pay off immediately increased productivity and higher workforce participation. Leading economists agree that for every dollar invested in high quality and universally affordable early care and learning programs comes back through a stronger economy for everyone. That's one reason why this is such an important step for BC. By making a commitment to child care investments the NDP is leading they way on a stronger economy with greater equity and improved economic equality.

      D Goss

      Apr 24, 2013 at 9:26am

      Children deserver quality care. The best way to ensure quality care is to have educated ECE people. Sadly the low wage that ECE are paid is not keeping them in the field. The low wage is preventing people from going to school and getting their ECE license. Children are out there in unlicensed care facilities with people who have good intentions of providing care, but are without the knowledge of key skills that are necessary to facilitate a quality program. The first few years of a child's life has a profound impact on how they will deal with Elementary School, Adolescence, and Adulthood(socially, cognitively, and even physically). For children who may be on the spectrum, they NEED early intervention with professionally trained people in the field. Education trains ECE to understand the red flags, trains ECE to treat children like they deserve to be treated. One could call it prevention. Some of the children who are slipping through the cracks right now might not be if they had quality care in their early years. The cost of dealing with children in the public school system or heaven forbid later in life in the jail system, will end up costing tax payers a lot more than the money it takes to invest in our children now. I firmly believe that it takes a village to raise a child. These children are our future, invest in them, they are worth it, and so are you.

      S. Fersch

      Apr 25, 2013 at 2:08pm

      Well put D. Goss I totally agree with you on all aspects of your topic.