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Moving ahead with before-&-after-class care for students in BC schools

Minister of State Mitzi Dean supported by Premier Eby in announcing new before-and-after-school care program for BC schools.

premier david eby, mitzi dean, child care
Premier David Eby and Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean announced a new integrated before-and-after-school care on school grounds program, May 14, 2024 in Victoria. [livestream composite]

Wednesday May 15, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 10 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

In a Victoria school yard on Tuesday, Premier David Eby and Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean announced how things are moving forward with what the government is calling fully integrated before- and after-school care on school grounds.

More families will save time, money and stress through the initiative that will use existing school space as well as school district resources and staff to provide seamless care without additional pickups and dropoffs.

david eby, victoria, may 2024
Premier David Eby addressed media in Victoria on May 14, 2024. [livestream]

“As a parent, I know how hard it can be to balance work and school hours. It’s hard to find care for your child before school starts or after the bell rings at the end of the day,” said Premier David Eby.

“There are very few parents who work at a place where the hours are 9 to 3,” he said in the school yard at George Jay Elementary, to emphasize the point of how before-and-after school care is highly necessary for many families. He identified that it’s stressful to manage pick-up and drop-off schedules, which many parents know about all too well.

mitzi dean, ministe of state for child care, victoria
Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean announced a new integrated before-and-after-school care on school grounds program, May 14, 2024 in Victoria. [livestream]

“That is why our government is taking action with more before- and after-school child care options. We’re partnering with three school districts to provide care on school grounds so children benefit from familiar faces and places throughout the day and families can count on one pickup and dropoff location,” Eby said.

But he noted there is “a shortage of workers” to work part-time in schools.

Minister of State for Child Care:

“Through ChildCareBC, we’re ensuring more families are able to access the child care they need because we know child care needs don’t stop when children start school,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of State for Child Care.

“Co-locating child care on school grounds helps ease children’s transition into school and is more convenient for busy parents,” said Dean.

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Starting with three school districts:

Three school districts have been selected for this initiative this fall: Chilliwack (SD33), Nanaimo-Ladysmith (SD68) and Nechako Lakes (SD 91).

Early childhood educators and support staff in these school districts will provide learning and care for children in classrooms and school spaces the kids are familiar with. This means busy parents will have greater flexibility for school dropoff and pickup times, while also saving time spent commuting or juggling kids across multiple locations.

mitzi dean, child care
Mitzi Dean, Minister of State for Child Care at the UBC child care centre in Vancouver, Feb 9, 2024. [web]

Working it out with EA’s:

Those three school district boards were said to have ‘good working relationships’ with the Educational Assistants (EAs) and had available space in the schools.

EAs — who belong to the CUPE workers union — would need to take on more hours and perhaps undertake more training.

“We are excited to partner with government to help make lives easier for parents and continue to offer the same high-quality support to children before and after school that they receive during school hours,” said Karen Ranalletta, president, CUPE BC.

“We recognize the need that families face in finding child care and our members are proud to be part of the solution,” said Ranalletta.

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$2 million to start:

The Ministry of Education and Child Care is providing more than $2 million over two years to the three identified school districts.

That will create an estimated 180 new licensed child care spaces, the government stated yesterday.

The government feels that this initiative “will gather critical information to assist with future expansion of this model into other districts”, as stated in their May 14, 2024 news release.

Meeting local needs:

Each of the three school districts in the program will create a model of care that meets provincial guidelines and local needs. The initiative will be evaluated and lessons will support ongoing expansion in other districts.

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Cost to parents:

The before-and-after school spaces will be affordable for parents as they will meet regional affordability benchmarks set by the ministry.

Families may also be eligible for fee reductions of as much as $115 per month per child. Families that need additional support with the cost of child care may also be eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit, the ministry news release noted.

“As a parent of two children, I know how valuable it would be to access child care for my seven-year-old at the same location as my youngest’s existing care,” said Andrea Klassen, parent. “Having before- and after-school child care available on school grounds in a space that my son is already familiar with would be great for him and easier for me, enabling parents like me to return to the workforce.”

Local response from school district on Vancouver Island west shore:

The fast-growing Sooke School District 62 (SD62) delivers public education in the west shore area of Greater Victoria; schools are in Langford, Colwood and Sooke where family-type housing has been booming for years. Many parents and caregivers there could likely dearly utilize the before-and-after school care program.

vancouver island, west shore, map
West Shore area of Greater Victoria, on South Vancouver Island, BC.

Many parents in the west shore commute to work and would likely welcome having their children be able to be safe in schools — to be dropped off as parents head to work and until they can pick them up after work. It’s worth noting that nearly 63% of employed persons who live in Langford commute beyond their municipal area for work (2021 Census).

paul block, sd62 superintendent
SD62 Superintendent Paul Block at the Port Renfrew Elementary School funding announcement, March 12, 2024 at the BC Legislature. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

“With the Ministry initiating the broader implementation of child care services within school buildings and actively gathering insights, we eagerly anticipate learning from their endeavors and exploring future avenues for the Sooke School District’s engagement in this initiative,” said SD62 Superintendent Paul Block.

sd62, building
SD62 administration building in Langford. [2021 file photo / Island Social Trends]

“Should an opportunity arise, and once we gain clarity on staffing ratios, space requirements and other pertinent factors, or upon learning more about the successes and lessons learned from the rollout in Chilliwack, Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Nechako Lakes, we would be better equipped to comment on potential costs and suitable spaces within the District,” said Kristen McGillivray, Manager of Strategic Communications, SD62 in a statement to Island Social Trends today.

district of sooke

“Many school districts grapple with maintaining adequate staffing levels for Educational Assistants,” said McGillivray, Manager of Strategic Communications, SD62.

“Within our District, we have an in-house program dedicated to training individuals to become EAs, aiding in both training and recruitment efforts,” she said today.


  • Through ChildCareBC, government has funded the creation of more than 10,175 child care spaces on school grounds since 2018, with almost 3,600 of those open and providing care for children.
  • In 2018, there were two school districts in the province providing licensed child care on school grounds.
  • Licensed child care on school grounds is available in more than 900 facilities throughout the province, with more than 70 of these operated by school districts.
  • In fall 2019, the Province piloted a seamless day-kindergarten model, which has since expanded to more than 30 school districts.
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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
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering news of Sooke since 2008, the west shore since 2014, and provincial/federal news issues since 2020 — through a socioeconomic lens with political analysis.

Ms Brooke’s series of publications in print has been archived at the Sooke Region Museum: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). Island Social Trends posts news daily at IslandSocialTrends.ca (PDF available by subscription) .

Mary’s now-grown children attended schools in SD61 and SD62 during the years 1990-2015. After further building her newspaper, Mary Brooke ran for school trustee in 2022 in the west shore (SD62 – Belmont Zone: Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Highlands).

In 2023 Ms Brooke was nominated for a Jack Webster Foundation award for contributing to her local community through professional journalism.