Two child-care centres in the Shuswap are included in a provincial government funding announcement that is expected to provide 52 communities a total of 103 projects creating about 3,800 child-care spots.
In Salmon Arm, Kinder Play Child Care Centre is receiving $250,000 to create 24 infant and toddler spaces.
The Neskonlith Indian Band will receive $500,000 to create 39 spaces – eight infant and toddler spaces, eight spaces for children aged three to five years, eight preschool spaces and 15 school-age spaces. All will be at the Switzmalph Child Care Centre.
In the North Okanagan, the Bridge Educational Society is receiving $500,000 to create 43 spaces in Lumby – 12 spaces for infants and toddlers, 16 spaces for children aged three to five years and 15 school-age spaces – at Cedar Bridge School.
Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy and Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen made the $33 million funding announcement Monday, Dec. 4.
“I’m excited to be announcing that we are building thousands of child-care spaces throughout B.C., including more than ever before for Indigenous communities,” Conroy said. “Too many B.C. families are struggling to find child care. These new spaces will offer relief and hope to parents.”
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The investment focuses on areas of greatest need, she says, including infant and toddler spaces; spaces on school grounds or co-located in a community hub; inclusive spaces in child-development centres; Indigenous child-care spaces; and employer-based spaces. More than half of these spaces are being delivered by non-profit organizations, and 20 per cent are from Indigenous child-care providers.
“We are speeding up the creation of new child-care spaces to address years of pent-up demand for child care,” Chen said. “Our February budget will show our long-term commitment to building a system of accessible, affordable and quality child care for families across the province.”
The province is working with successful proponents to establish funding agreements. Construction and renovations for the majority of the approved projects are expected to begin shortly. However, each site’s timelines for completion will differ, depending on their individual proposal requirements.
“The Provincial Child Care Council is working closely with the ministry to guide them towards improving access to child care,” said Wayne Robertson, PCCC chair. “Council members are energized by the new focus on fixing the child-care crisis and I think that the future is looking brighter for B.C. parents.”