Childcare campaign seeks town’s support

Advocate informs Qualicum Beach council quality care is unaffordable to most families

Sharon Gregson said Qualicum Beach has more vulnerable children than the provincial average.

Gregson, the provincial spokesperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., spoke at the Feb. 27 Qualicum Beach council meeting, highlighting the need for quality affordable childcare within the community. She also asked council to endorse the Early Childhood Education Society of B.C. and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. community plan for a public system of integrated early care and learning.

Gregson said a lot of children in the province are in unregulated care. She said on average 32.2 per cent of children in the province are vulnerable in one or more developmental measures.

“Sadly, your school district actually exceeds the provincial average with 37 per cent,” Gregson said of the provincial average which is 32.2 per cent. “You have more vulnerable children in your community than across the province on average.”

Gregson said quality childcare is unaffordable for most families. She said there are 600,000 children with a little more than 100,000 licenced childcare facilities.

“When childcare is affordable, more mothers, particularly, are able to enter and re-enter the workforce. They pay taxes and create a revenue stream for government,” Gregson said.

Gregson highlighted the $10aDay Child Care Campaign. The campaign would provide $10 for full-time care, $7 for part-time care, with no parent fee for families with an annual income under $40,000.

The $10aDay Child Care Campaign grew out of a partnership between the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. to create the community plan for a public system of integrated early care and learning.

Coun. Barry Avis said the living wage committee in the area has calculated the local living wage to be $17 an hour. Avis wanted to know what this campaign would do to the living wage.

Gregson said it would reduce the living wage by about $3 which would make life more affordable for employers and small businesses.

Gregson said that while B.C. is slow to start dealing with childcare, advocates here are able to look at other provinces, such as Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec, which are further ahead with a model.

For more information about the campaign, visit www.10aday.ca.