The BC NDP is promising the province that they will solve the child care crisis with an affordable program for parents. The party announced that if elected in the upcoming May 9 provincial election, they plan to roll out a new child care program that will cost families $10 a day.
Nancy Bepple, the NDP candidate for Kamloops-South Thompson, says that under the BC Liberals and Christy Clark child care has been abandoned and there haven’t been many opportunities for parents to access quality child care.
“Christy Clark has spent her time focused on rich corporations and her rich friends,” Bepple said.
Bepple lent her support for the $10 a day program that the party has proposed.
“It would provide affordable, accessible and quality child care for [all] children. Parents, especially women, have a difficult time balancing work and child care, especially because the cost the cost of the child care is so prohibitive,” Bepple said.
Bepple says that this program is not only a benefit to the families receiving it but also to the economy. She says that the program would create up to 70,000 new jobs in B.C. because it would allow people to be available and able to afford to go back to work.
“[It] would focus on providing $10 a day child care parents, so those parents are able to get out and get back to work when they want to,” Bepple said.
Martha Solomon, a mother of two, said that she is luckier than most to have quality and affordable daycare for her kids at the Cariboo Child care Centre at TRU.
“In our household, child care is one of our biggest expenses, but if you have more than one in child care at the same time, that cost can easily exceed any of your other expenses,” Solomon said.
Solomon says that even if you can afford the fees, that she had to get on a waitlist before her son was born to ensure a spot at a good place.
“We were so relieved when my son got a spot here, the care he receives at Cariboo is the kind of care I’d like to see for all children in B.C., not just my own,” Solomon said. “These days when I go to work I know that my son is happy and well cared for, I don’t have to worry about his safety or his needs being met.”
Jasmine West, an early child care educator at Cariboo Child Care in the infant and toddler program, has been working in the field of early child care education for eight years. She says that in her opinion the $10 a day plan is great starting point for the province and a step in the right direction.
“Some of the biggest issues that contribute to the child care crisis in B.C. is the lack of quality child care spaces for families in B.C., the high cost that puts an extreme burden on families and also the lack of qualified professionals staying in the field,” West said
Although this program has notable benefits for B.C. parents, it would come with a significant tax increase. A study done by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) indicated that this $10 a day child care program would require an extra $1.5 billion in public funding.
“There are actually a lot of different programs on the books right now, which provide different types of child care subsidies and if we were to pull all of those together it would provide a pool of money. At the same time, you have to remember that when child care is available, it creates about 70,000 new jobs that are also a source of taxation,” Bepple said.
The BC Liberals announced that their plan for child care is very different, and they plan to create 13,000 new child care spaces by the year 2020 without a tax increase.
“The tax subsidies are obviously not good enough, because it’s still prohibitive for families to get child care. Child care can cost $1,200 a month or more,” Bepple said.
The party has yet to release full details of how they plan to rollout this child care program.
“I have confidence that it can happen,” Bepple said.