Anyone who has ever looked for affordable childcare in B.C. knows the struggle of finding it, according to Cally Overton, chair of the Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC) Campbell River branch.
It’s a story she knows all too well. She hears it all the time. Heck, she’s experienced it herself.
“Financially, it wasn’t beneficial for me to go back to work,” she says. “To have my children in childcare, I was actually losing money because I was paying so much out in childcare for my two children that it didn’t make it worth it.”
Going back to work also moved her family into a higher tax bracket, she says, so while they were paying for childcare so she could go back to work, they also weren’t eligible for the provincial Child Tax Credit, and they had higher medical premiums.
“Basically we were losing a ton of money by having me go back to work.”
This week, early childhood educators and affiliated professionals are engaging in a “Week of Action,” promoting a proposed provincial $10/day childcare plan with rallies planned all over B.C., including one in Spirit Square Saturday from 10 to noon.
“It’s not a protest, it’s to advocate,” Overton says.
“It’s a rally where we’ll have all sorts of information, I’ll be speaking about the plan, we’ll be giving out resources and asking people to sign petitions endorsing the plan if they want.”
ECEBC cites a new study, released just this past January (PDF) which shows the previous perceptions about a $10/day plan costing government – and therefore the public – a ton of money, are misguided.
“The study that just came out actually shows that, yes, it will cost money short-term, but it’s actually economically beneficial in the long run,” Overton says. “It brings more people to the workforce and actually pays for itself very, very quickly and then continues to generate revenue and puts money right back into the economy.”
Because the cost of childcare actually keeps many people from re-entering the workforce after giving birth, the study says, the cost to government in subsidizing daycare actually works in the government’s favour.
In fact, the study estimates that a $10/day childcare plan would make the government $112-million more per year than it costs the taxpayers within three years of implementation, with that number increasing into the future.
The plan, should it be implemented, will also help mitigate another problem in the childcare system, Overton says.
“It’ll also open up a ton of spaces. There is a crisis right now. People are on waitlists for years and years and lots of people are being forced to choose unlicensed childcare options – where the quality of that care isn’t monitored so well – so opening up more licensed options will really relieve that pressure.”
For more information on the study or the $10/day childcare plan proposal, head over to ecebc.ca or meet up with Overton and other early childhood professionals at Spirit Square Saturday morning to have a chat.