Government scales back child care promise by millions

CHILLIWACK (July 6, 2018) – The government is reneging on its 2018 budget promise of $237 million over three years to fund the Child Care Major Capital Funding Program less than six months after it was announced by finance minister Carole James.

“There is less money here,” said Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness. “In today’s announcement, the newly-labelled Childcare New Spaces BC Fund offers just $221 million.  This is worse than mere window dressing; the government is taking away the curtains.”

“I am deeply concerned about the government’s sudden change of priorities,” Throness added. “Under the government’s new plan, market-based child care providers may apply for funding, but are eligible for four times less money than nonprofits; $250,000 compared to $1 million. Market-based providers make up about 80 per cent of all providers in B.C. The government is literally taking gas out of the engine of growth in child care spaces.”

“What’s even more troubling is those providers who don’t opt in to the government’s fee reduction plan are not eligible at all. The government is sending a message: toe the government line, or get nothing,” said Throness. “Market-based groups are far down the priority list. Those few lucky enough to receive a capital grant must contribute 25 per cent.  Nonprofits will get a million bucks while contributing nothing.

Throness, Official Opposition Critic for Childcare also added: “In every way, this announcement reinforces the government’s intention to discourage market-based providers from entering the field of child care. This is a big public policy mistake. Worst of all, this does nothing to address the shortage of early childhood educators in the province.”