Licenced Infant Care Providers In Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca Not Able To Keep Up With Community Growth On Their Own
April 23rd, 2011 - 5:17pm
The lack of infant/toddler care spaces in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca has reached a critical point. As of January 2011, the Child Care Information Action Project reports there are only 4178 licensed infant/toddler child care spaces for the entire Greater Victoria Area. That figure represents an increase of only 42 spaces in the regions since 2007.
In that same time, developments from Saanich to Sooke have attracted thousands of new families.
“Families buying new homes, in our safe and thriving community find out when they get here that they have to spend hours commuting their children to child care,” Says NDP candidate Randall Garrison. “And that’s if they can find child care at all.”
Meagan Brame, Esquimalt Councillor and Saxe Point Daycare owner says infant/toddler care is the most critical need. “Parents looking for infant/toddler care can be on a waitlist for four years. By the time there is a spot, their child is too old to take it,” says Brame.
Significantly higher costs for infant/toddler care providers - higher qualified staff, cribs, and safety devices - contribute to the lack of child care providers offering infant care. Even local non-profit providers charge upwards of $1200 monthly.
“Infant care providers can’t provide quality, affordable service without some form of subsidies,” says Garrison. “The NDP is committed to working with the provinces and territories to establish and fund a Canada-wide child care program.”
The NDP platform commits to establish and fund a Canada-wide child care and early learning program leading to the creation of 12,000 new child care spaces in BC over the next four years.
“It’s long past time for the federal government to invest in childcare and make services more affordable and accessible to all Canadians,” says Garrison. “I’m committed to being the voice for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca families in Ottawa, and helping them get the childcare they need.”
Our children’s early years can be a foundation for lifelong success - if we give them the right tools. Healthy environments and nutrition are crucial. And any working parent knows, top-quality early learning and childcare can give our kids the head start they deserve.
Most families with preschoolers rely on outside child care, but barely one in five can find a licensed regulated space. For the rest, outside Quebec, unlicensed care means annual fees averaging $6,900 – and more stress and strain for working parents who just want the best for their kids.
When European countries invested to ensure child care for most of their citizens, they found that each dollar spent returned two more to the economy. But here in Canada, three straight Prime Ministers have broken their commitments to improve our kids’ early year, squandering billions on corporate tax giveaways instead.
The NDP platform commits that we will work with the provinces and territories to establish and fund a Canada-wide child care and early learning program, enshrined in law, with the following goals:
• The creation of 25,000 new child care spaces per year for the next four years (the BC platform commits to the creation of 12,000 new child care spaces in BC over the next four years see www.ndp.ca/bc);
• Improvements to community infrastructure to support the growth of child care spaces;
• The creation of integrated, community-based, child-centred early learning and education centres that provide parents with a “one-stop shop” for family services.
From 1999 to 2007, the NDP Government of Manitoba doubled its commitment to early learning and child care.
Manitoba’s research has shown that, investing in child care stimulates local economies, provides social infrastructure to support workers, parents, and their employers, and is an investment in human development and education, leading to a productive future workforce.
Manitoba has found that every $1 spent on child care by generates $1.58 of economic activity in rural and northern regions.