VICTORIA — All three levels of government are working together in British Columbia to ensure more child care spaces will be developed in the coming years.
According to a release, the province is investing $13.7 million from its Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Government of Canada through the first of two new partnership programs with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). The first, called the Community Child Care Space Creation Program, will create 1,370 new licensed child care spaces, with a focus on infant and toddler care.
Municipal and regional governments in B.C. are eligible for up to $1 million per project through the new program.
The second program will provide $3 million in new provincial funding to the UBCM to administer a Community Child Care Planning grant program that will enable local governments to work with their communities to identify their specific needs around child care spaces.
Local governments are now eligible to apply for up to $25,000 from the planning program, which is targeted to communities that are interested in creating new child care spaces over the next 10 years.
The deadline to apply for both programs is Jan. 18, 2019 and successful recipients will be announced in the spring of 2019.
“The ability to plan for child care space at the local level will help ensure that new spaces are created in areas with the greatest need,” said Katrina Chen, B.C.’s minister of state for child care, in a statement. “It will also help identify community assets and partnerships that are the most likely to be successful and sustainable.”
Work is also underway to make sure that Indigenous communities in B.C. — including First Nations, Metis and urban communities — also have support to improve access to early learning and child care, with provincial partnerships to be announced towards the end of the year.