VANCOUVER — The Christy Clark government’s failure to invest in affordable universal child care has created a crisis for working families, and John Horgan says he’ll change that with a $10 a day child care program for parents and kids across the province.
“It’s time families have an affordable, universal child care program in B.C., and we’re going to work toward a $10-a-day program. It’s the right thing to do for our kids, for working families and for our economy,” Horgan said.
“After housing, child care is the second-highest cost facing B.C. families. Parents here are paying some of the highest child care fees in the country. Too many parents can’t find child care and spend years on waitlists.
“When Christy Clark was deputy premier in 2001, one of the B.C. Liberals’ first acts was to cancel the NDP government’s universal child care initiative in partnership with the federal government. The B.C. Liberals have gutted, underfunded and ignored the crisis in affordable child care since taking power 15 years ago. The situation is so bad under the Clark government that the only way for some kids to get off waitlists is to reach school age. That is wrong.”
Roughly 20 per cent of children have access to regulated childcare, and fees in the Lower Mainland can run to over $1200 per month, say child care advocates.
“This child care crisis hurts families, and it also hurts our economy,” Horgan said. “Lack of affordable, quality child care prevents parents from participating in the labour force, and B.C.’s business and labour sectors agree with New Democrats that the Clark government’s ongoing neglect of child care makes it difficult for businesses to attract women, young families and skilled workers.“
B.C. mothers’ participation rates are the second lowest in Canada, and 40 per cent of B.C. families report that a parent could not return to work at the end of parental leave due to lack of childcare spaces.