The province announced the groundbreaking of a new centre for childhood studies Thursday that will more than double the amount of child care spaces for the university.
The centre will add 74 affordable child care spaces raising the total number of spaces to 143 for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Students, employees and community members are all eligible to apply for space for their children at the new centre.
“I am proud that we are investing in people’s futures by providing child care spaces so parents can benefit from educational opportunities,” said Anne Kang, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training.
“The new centre for childhood studies will provide a positive learning environment for children, and support their parents who are advancing their own studies.”
The new centre comes with a price tag of $18.6 million, with $9.46 coming from the province and $9.14 from Capilano University. It is expected to open in late 2024.
The province said the new facility is part of the 10-year ChildcareBC Plan, which has funded more than 30,000 new licensed child care spaces in B.C. since 2018.
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However, some B.C. parents in the North Vancouver neighbourhood think that while the new spaces are greatly needed and appreciated, it’s a small drop in the bucket for a much larger issue.
“Ultimately, that’s a huge investment for what seems to be not that many spaces relative to the money spent. Seventy-four new spaces are definitely needed but also what are the rates that they will be charging?” said Lisa Fox, a North Vancouver mom who has a six year old and another on the way.
“Will they be charging the market rates of daycare right now? (Childcare) can be up to $1,600 a month. I’ve reached out to a few places to sign up for full-time infant child care (for my new baby) and it’s all between $1,400 to $1,600 a month. It’s pretty (expensive) on top of living costs.
“I know people that have been on waitlists for more than three years.”
The spaces have been dubbed as “affordable” child care spaces by the province, but it is unclear how much it will cost parents.
The ‘$10-a-day child care’ catch phrase has been thrown around for years. The province is now doubling that, however, committing to an average child care cost of $20 per day for British Columbians by the end of next year.
Due to a federal commitment, the province has allocated $284 million for child care. This allows the province to reduce the average infant/toddler fees to approximately $20 per day — a reduction by about 50 per cent of current costs.
The B.C. government also announced that it has enhanced wages in licensed facilities by $4 an hour, expanded early child care education spaces in public post-secondary schools, provided bursaries, and established better access to training and development for workers.
–with files from Global BC’s Richard Zussman
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