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Child care in Vancouver to get more spaces, more funding

Last Updated Jul 4, 2019 at 3:06 pm PST

Premier John Horgan announces $33 million over three years for child care in Vancouver Taran Parmar/NEWS 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Thousands of new licensed child care spaces are coming to Vancouver, according to the province.

The announcement pledges 2,300 new spaces for child care in the city, to be housed in schools, community centres and other public spaces.

The City will receive $33 million from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund over the next three years to help pay for these spaces.

Premier John Horgan, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen announced a new partnership to help alleviate the lack of child care spaces in the city.

RELATED: B.C. to test $10-a-day child care promise at 53 locations

“Increasing access to quality, affordable child care is one more way we’re helping families thrive in Vancouver and ensuring that our city works for everyone,” said Stewart in a release.

It’s estimated that Vancouver is short of child care spaces by more than 16,000.

“Working with Vancouver, we are creating more affording child care spaces for more families,” said Horgan. These new spaces will help families across the city, lifting them up and helping them to get ahead.”

Ten-dollar-a-day child care advocate Sharon Gregson says she is not concerned the funding will get held up in bureaucracy.

“We want there to be accountability for this money, we want to make sure that the new spaces that open up meet licensing, health and safety standards, but there’s a lot of goodwill and a lot of momentum to get these spaces created quickly,” Gregson said.

She says that more still needs to be done as the supply of child care spaces must meet the demand.

This also means more quality early childhood educators are needed to staff additional spaces.

Margaret Ng, who has a child in child care, said it took over two years to get a spot.

“When that came up, we jumped on that opportunity. And we were told when she ages to three, she’d be out of the program, there’s no spot for her,” said Ng. “So, it’s been very stressful to juggle work and daycare.”

Fiorella Pinillos, who will be returning to work after maternity leave in a few weeks, compared getting a child care spot to winning the lottery, but she is happy that small steps are being taken.

“I think it’s a good start,” said Pinillos. “I wasn’t expecting this to happen this soon.”

The B.C. government has already committed to spending $1.3 billion over the next three years on child care initiatives.