Early Childhood Educators braved what seemed like all the elements – wind gusts, rain and even a bout of snow – on Saturday to encourage Campbell Riverites to come down to Spirit Square and support a $10 per day childcare plan.
Citizens were asked to sign a petition as part of a Week of Action which has seen thousands of British Columbians engaging in advocacy rallies across the province in support of a proposed provincial $10/day childcare plan.
The plan pitched by Early Childhood Educators would see funding for daycare fall under the mandate of the provincial Ministry of Education and be subsidized by the province, allowing for more affordable daycare for working families – $10 per day for full-time care, $7 a day for children attending daycare part-time and free for families with annual incomes of less than $40,000.
North Island NDP MLA Claire Trevena attended Saturday’s rally and said the NDP fully supports affordable childcare.
“The BC NDP has committed to a $10/day childcare program if elected in May,” Trevena said. “I’ve been hearing from parents who are having to choose between childcare or not working which is a ridiculous situation for our society.”
In Campbell River, daycare on average costs $987 per month for toddlers and $735 each month for 3-to-5-year-olds.
Trevena said that for many parents, it’s not worth it to go back to work because they’re having to shell out so much for childcare that working is no longer beneficial.
Or, in some cases, she said parents are switching off with the childcare duties so that both parents can work and at the same time avoid paying for childcare.
“I’ve heard from one woman, she’s working a day shift while her husband works the night shift,” Trevena said. “They never see each other.”
While preliminary numbers suggest the plan could cost the province around $1.77 billion annually for full implementation, advocates say the government would make that money back in the long run, and more because it would allow more people to re-enter the workforce after giving birth.
“You would have more people working, paying more taxes, spending more money,” Trevena said.
A $10/day childcare plan study, released in January, estimates that the plan would increase employment on full implementation by roughly 69,100 net new full-time jobs and generate $112 million more per year for the government than it would cost taxpayers within three years of implementation, with that number increasing down the road.
The province of Quebec, for example, invests $2.2 billion each year to offer universal childcare at a rate of $7 per day. And in 2008, it was estimated that both the Quebec provincial government and the federal government made $900 million over and above the additional costs incurred by paying for universal childcare. And it induced nearly 70,000 more mothers to enter the workforce.
The plan is also expected to open up more licensed childcare spaces as the plan suggests raising the wages of senior Early Childhood Educators to $30 per hour and to $25 an hour for regular staff, to entice more people to pursue Early Childhood Education.
For more information on the $10/day childcare plan study and proposal, visit ecebc.ca
Kristen Douglas/Campbell River Mirror
Cally Overton, chair of the Early Childhood Educators of BC Campbell River branch, explains the $10 childcare plan to a passerby during an awareness and support campaign Saturday in Spirit Square.