Opinion: BC Liberals oppose our plan to save parents thousands on childcare

Oct 5 2022, 3:23 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care and the NDP MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed. 

Recently I had the joy of telling parents throughout British Columbia that we’re cutting their childcare fees — again. Starting in December, families will save up to $550 more per child every month. That’s an additional $6,600 every year on top of their current savings.

These savings are life-changing for many families.

In the days since, I’ve heard from parents what this means to them: more money for gas, groceries, college funds, or just the comfort of knowing there will be room in the family budget at the end of the month.

This is the second time the BC NDP has delivered a big reduction to childcare fees since 2017, and it won’t be the last.

With global inflation driving up so many of our daily costs, families needed this break. But Kevin Falcon and the BC Liberals have opposed our childcare program at every step.

Falcon’s spokesperson for childcare, Karin Kirkpatrick, has criticized our plan no less than eight times online and in media interviews. By scrapping our efforts to limit childcare fees, the BC Liberals would make families pay thousands of dollars more every year.

Sadly, it’s consistent with their record on childcare. During 16 years in government, the BC
Liberals eliminated childcare subsidies for 10,500 families. They even took away wage top-ups for many workers. Without support, childcare facilities closed and families lost their spaces.

When Kevin Falcon was Finance Minister, he didn’t even mention childcare in his budget
speech – that’s how little he cared about it.

We’re taking a different approach. Since 2017, we’ve built up BC’s childcare to be able to
support the fee reductions we’re making today.

Early Childhood Educators are in high demand, but when we formed government there wasn’t much to encourage new people into the field. So we raised their wages, added more training spaces, and more bursaries to help cover the cost of their education. These efforts have made it easier for parents to find safe, quality care for their kids.

For families who struggle to find spaces, we’ve funded the creation of over 30,500 spaces. We plan to fund 60,000 new spaces by 2026, building on what is already the fastest creation of childcare spaces in BC’s history.

Childcare in BC isn’t what it was five years ago. After two big reductions to fees, parents are
saving up to $10,000 a year per child. But we know there’s still more to do.

We formed government in 2017 with a commitment to make affordable, quality and inclusive childcare a core service families can count on.

Seeing what these fee cuts have already meant for families, I’m more excited than ever about getting this done for them.

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