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Child care in BC contributes to social & economic fabric

Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean introduced BC Child Care Month in the BC Legislative Assembly on May 1, 2024.

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Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean introduced BC Child Care Month in the BC Legislative Assembly on May 1, 2024.[Hansard livestream]

Wednesday May 1, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 3:55 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

May is Child Care Month in BC as a way to celebrate the work of thousands of caring and committed child-care operators and early childhood educators throughout the province.

Today in the BC Legislative Assembly, Minister of State for Child Child, Mitzi Dean introduced several child care sector workers who were present in the gallery.

Introducing Child Care Month & its contributors:

During statements in the house, Dean said that today marks the beginning of Child Care Month.

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Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean introduced BC Child Care Month in the BC Legislative Assembly on May 1, 2024.[Hansard livestream]

“Quality and inclusive child care supports children in formative stages of their development and helps them meet their milestones and thrive, while preparing them to successfully transition into their K-12 education. Child care also supports the emotional and social development of children, which reduces stress in families by helping to establish routines and regulation.

“At the heart of child care are professionals who have the commitment and expertise to provide rich early learning experiences for children during such a critical time in their lives. I want to celebrate and thank the thousands of B.C. child care professionals for their daily contributions to the social, educational and economic fabric of B.C.

She introduced guests seated in the visitor gallery: Child Care Resource and Referral Coordinators Daphne Raymond from Sooke and Belinda Macey from Victoria, saying: “They play a vital role in our child care system by connecting families with their early years and child care services that families need. They make this process more seamless for the families that we serve.”

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Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin) announced the opening of a new child care facility at the West Shore Parks & Recreation building in Colwood, Dec 6, 2021. [Island Social Trends]

Dean also introduced and thanked instructors, students and recent graduates of the Camosun College Early Learning and Care Program including: Jean Purrich, Selsa Rose, Andrea Williams, Rebecca Wickington, Carrie Ann Farr, and Enid Elliot. The full-time training program is delivered over two years (16 months of study) and can be taken online.

Dean has in the past run a child care center herself, and says she knows “how critical having the workforce of early childhood educators is, what a critical role they play by providing education and care for British Columbia’s youngest”.

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Lightening the load:

Doug Routley — who has been the MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan since 2005 — said in the Legislative Assembly today that child care support produces “significant savings and putting more money in to the pockets of families” as more parents — particularly women — can participate in the workforce.

Child care is about “lightening the load”, said Routley.

Child care support long in coming:

Child care support has been promised both federally and provincially for decades. In BC it’s only been since the Horgan NDP government starting 2017 that child care has been boosted cross-ministry (including budget allocation through Finance and inclusion of Child Care under the Education ministry umbrella).

In the last couple of years the federal government has begun partnering with provinces to support the creation of more child care spaces that are affordable for families.

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Feminist view for decades:

State-supported child care services have been long in coming in Canada. As stated way back in 1973 by Sheila Rowbotham in Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World: “Our labour in the family goes unrecognized except as an excuse to keep us out of the better jobs in industry and accuse us of absenteeism and unreliability.”

The feminist author pointed out that women’s lack of access to the paid workforce is “economically profitable to capitalism” (which for the most part, at that time, excluded women). She added: “When men and women do not support each other at work both patriarchy and capitalism are strengthened.”

Projected spaces in BC:

Over 15,000 $10-day-day child care spaces are now operating in BC. The province is on track to reach 20,000 spaces by spring 2026, according to the BC government.

Child care spaces have been steadily expanding in the Victoria and west shore areas of the capital region over the past several years.

The BC Government has invested in bursaries, new post-secondary early childhood educator spaces, grants for specialized education and a wage increase of $6 per hour.

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LOCAL JOURNALISM INFORMS — we bring you local news about your community. Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC. Read free online or get the biweekly PDF by email.

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Mary P Brooke, Editor & Publisher of Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke raised her four children in Fairfield/Oak Bay while self-employed during 1986-2007. Since 2017 she has provided community leadership in Langford.

Ms Brooke’s series of news publications that started in 2008 has included a focus on following community growth and development in the west shore region.

Island Social Trends was launched online at IslandSocialTrends.ca in 2020, having morphed from the previous publication West Shore Voice News (weekly print/PDF 2014-2020) and Sooke Voice News (weekly print 2011-2013) before that. In 2008-2010 it was the colour quarterly MapleLine Magazine that rolled off Mary’s pen.

Since the daily coverage of COVID news in 2020-2002, Ms Brooke has reported along with the BC Legislative Press Gallery with a more provincial angle on the news, always with a socioeconomic lens and a view to analyzing the impacts of political decisions.

In 2022 Ms Brooke ran for school trustee in the west shore (SD62). In 2023 she was nominated for a Jack Webster Foundation journalism award that recognizes professional women journalists for their contribution to community through journalism.

In 2024 Ms Brooke has launched Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society to guide urban decision-makers in the creation of food-growing spaces in urban communities.