VANCOUVER-As the premier travels the province selling a jobs plan, B.C. families took another hit this week with announced cuts to child care that will only stretch working parents even further, said New Democrat child care critic Mable Elmore.
“Job pronouncements are nothing more than empty promises if Christy Clark doesn’t support working families,” said Elmore, the MLA for Vancouver-Kensington.
Elmore says that effective Sept. 15, a government capital funding program that helps all licensed child care facilities meet essential health and safety operational needs will no longer be accepting grant applications. Child care facilities across the province rely on the grants to help them meet provincial licensing requirements related to emergency repairs, upgrading and relocating existing facilities. Child care providers say the grants cover basic operational costs including items such as washing machines, carpets, fencing andreplacing damaged or old equipment.
“I’m very concerned that the loss of these grants will be downloaded onto parents who already pay very high child care fees,” said Elmore. “Low to middle income families tap out at over $1,200 a month per child for child care in the lower mainland and that’s within a climate where the cost of living has gone up while wages for most British Columbians have remained stagnant.”
Elmore says child care centres are also stretched, working within very tight budgets. She says a reduction in funding will further impact the affordability, availability and quality of care.
“Less funding to centres results in higher child care fees, reduced staffing levels and higher operational costs,” said Elmore. “How is this going to impact working parents and their children?”
“The reality is that child care has been a very low priority for the Liberals over the past decade,” said Elmore. “Under the Liberals we have seen parents under great pressure: waiting years on long waitlists for available, affordable and quality child care. Working parents have little choice when it comes to child care options for their loved ones, and that is neither good for our economy or the development of our youngest citizens.”
“The premier is totally out of touch with B.C. families if she thinks cuts to child care providers are going to further a ‘families-first’ agenda or support a jobs plan,” said Elmore. “B.C. families work hard and the last thing they need is a government stretching them even further.”
The Christy Clark government has been under fire for months for cutting costs at the expense of families after campaigning hard under a ‘families-first’ agenda.
Elmore said that Adrian Dix and the New Democrats will hold the Liberal government to account in the upcoming legislative session for policies like this that have seen cost cutting at the expense of families and services for children.