BC Budget 2023 Submission

BC Budget 2023 Consultation

Submission on June 14, 2022 via Zoom from the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC

To the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services

We are the leading organization advocating for child care in BC. We share research, highlight women's lived expertise, analyze public policy and budgets, make recommendations to government, and mobilize public support. In 2010 we partnered with the Early Childhood Educators of BC to develop and advance the popular $10aDay Child Care Plan to move child care from a failed market-based commodity to a public good. 

We offer three recommendations as urgent priorities for BC Budget 2023:

  • Implement an urgent transition strategy to recruit and retain Early Childhood Educators in BC's child care system starting with a competitive province-wide wage grid as committed in the bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

As government funds the expansion of much needed child care spaces urgent action is required to ensure there are qualified educators for new and existing programs. While welcome, the actions taken by government to address recruitment and retention challenges in the child care sector—including the $4/hour wage enhancement and student bursaries—are insufficient to resolve the current crisis. Government must find creative approaches to recruit new ECE students into the profession, encourage educators who have left to return, and retain current educators in the system.

As part of an overall compensation strategy to improve wages, benefits, and working conditions in the child care sector, government must develop, fund, and implement a provincial, competitive, and equitable wage grid as proposed in Next Step: A Competitive, Publicly Funded Provincial Wage Grid is the Solution to BC’s ECE Shortage. The wage grid must adopt the report’s underlying policies and processes for implementation and its recommendation that qualified ECEs earn a minimum of $26/hour (one-year college certificate) and $29/hour (two-year post-secondary diploma) (2020 rates). The wage grid should also provide encouragement and incentives for those working in the sector to upgrade/complete their qualifications.

More information on an ECE workforce transition strategy is available at www.10aday.ca/roadmap

  • Implement an equitable operating funding formula for $10aDay child care programs.

As programs transition to become $10aDay sites, a funding formula will integrate and replace current operating funding streams such as the Child Care Operating Fund, Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, and Wage Enhancement program. An equitable funding formula for child care operators integrates educator compensation and parent fees, along with accountability measures.

A funding formula should provide sufficient public funds to bring parent fees down to a maximum of $10 a day for full-day care with no fees for lower income families and improve the quality of child care to support full implementation of BC''s Early learning Framework.

A funding formula should be designed around four categories of child care operating budgets: human resources costs; programming costs; facility operating costs (excluding mortgage/leasing costs for private assets); and administration costs.

A funding formula must support a system of high-quality care for all families who choose it. Additional resources will be required to support the inclusion of children and families with differing abilities. Resources, policies, and strategies will also be required to move toward decolonization, support equitable access and outcomes for marginalized groups, address families’ needs for non-standard hours of care, and respect community/regional differences.

More information on a $10aDay child care funding formula is available at www.10aday.ca/roadmap

  • Expand $10aDay child care sites across BC to meet the needs of families.

The promise to bring $10aDay child care to more families was one of the BC government’s first and most significant election commitments in both 2017 and 2020. The bilateral Early Learning and Child Care Agreement BC signed in 2021 with the federal government now promises a total of 12,500 $10aDay child care spaces by the end of 2022 and fees of $10 a day across BC by 2026.

To achieve this goal, BC must replace the current reactive competitive process to selecting $10aDay sites with a planned transition of existing programs to $10aDay while creating new $10aDay sites:

  • Prioritizing the transition of existing public/non-profit programs, and interested Indigenous programs, located in public or non-profit owned facilities into $10aDay sites.
  • Opening all new facilities developed with public capital funds as $10aDay sites—this includes modular buildings and new facilities under public or non-profit ownership.
  • Resolving facility ownership challenges with programs located in privately owned facilities.

We propose a multi-year child care capital budget and planning process to develop publicly owned child care facilities that will:

  • Advance cost-effective use of public funds by supporting economies of scale, consistent high-quality standards, and public planning to ensure facilities meet community needs.
  • Minimize public risk by ensuring that child care facilities are available and managed for the long term and not subject to risks associated with privately owned facilities (e.g., sale, insolvency, change of use).

More information on $10aDay child care expansion is available at www.10aday.ca/roadmap