An overflowing gallery urged council to support daycare.

Daycare agenda item met with unruly support

Councillors in the end voted to endorse in principle $10 a day child care

They came with signs, children and their voices and they filled the public gallery to overflowing at Monday night’s council meeting.

More than 70 early childhood educators, advocates, parents and their children descended on city hall to encourage city council to endorse a plan for $10 a day child care.

While council didn’t go so far as to endorse the plan in its entirety, councillors did support the concept in principle and that seemed to satisfy the crowd which let out a cheer following the vote.

After a couple of attempts by council to nail down what it was trying to say, councillors in the end voted to endorse in principle $10 a day child care by sending an endorsement in principle letter from mayor and council expressing how it will benefit the community.

Councillors Michele Babchuk, Charlie Cornfield, Colleen Evans and Larry Samson were in favour while councillors Ron Kerr, Marlene Wright and Mayor Andy Adams were opposed.

Coun. Kerr said he felt there were other alternatives to dealing with child poverty while Coun. Wright was concerned there were too many holes in the proposal.

Adams he supported the concept of affordable daycare but was worried about how the province would pay for the plan which is estimated to cost roughly $1.5 billion a year to implement if it were to include all children under the age of six.

But Coun. Cornfield said that’s something that the province can work out down the road. He said by supporting the plan in principle, council was simply saying it supports helping those who are most in need.

“It’s saying we definitely support the concept of helping the most vulnerable in our community and Campbell River has always been known for that,” Cornfield said. “It’s saying it supports the $10 a day in principle. How it gets paid for will be worked out.”

Coun. Babchuk agreed and said it was about local government having the opportunity to bring the issue of child poverty to a higher government body.

“This is an exercise in communication here, it’s an opportunity to bring issues in our community to the province,” Babchuk said. “All we’re doing is exercising our right to communicate that this has the ability to help people in our area.”

Coun. Samson, who has been vocal in his support for organizations like Success by 6 and encouraged council at its last meeting May 11 to support the plan, reiterated that Campbell River’s child poverty rate is higher than the provincial average at 22.8 per cent and that Campbell River children rate lower for standards of reading and writing compared to their provincial counterparts. Samson also reminded council that Dr. Charmaine Enns, Island Health’s chief medical officer, has said in the past that initiatives such as the $10 a day plan help reduce child poverty because it puts more money in the pockets of parents. It also allows more parents to enter the workforce.

“This is the time to make the change, to break the trend,” Samson said. “Daycare should be available to all families, not just the ones that can afford it.”

Samson added that one of council’s strategic goals states that a community’s strength is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable.

“And that’s what we’re talking about here tonight.”

While council backed off on fully endorsing the plan, which 40 other regional district and local governments have done – including Campbell River’s School District 72 – council will still send a letter of endorsement in principle.

Under the plan, funding for daycare would fall under the mandate of the provincial Ministry of Education and would be subsidized by the province, allowing for affordable daycare – $10 a day for full-time care, $7 a day for children attending daycare part-time and free for families with annual incomes below $40,000.

Currently daycare on average in Campbell River costs $987 per month for toddlers and $735 each month for 3-to-5-year-olds.

The plan would also raise the wages of early childhood educators to $25 an hour and would put an early childhood educator in each kindergarten and Grade 1 classroom.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some bystanders with fire extinguishers helped keep the fire under control. Photo courtesy Suzie Thomas
Bystanders keep fire from spreading near McIvor Lake turnoff

‘Just be vigilant and careful,’ says Campbell River fire chief

The Pier Street Farmers Market will once again take up residence on Sundays from May to Septmber at the parking lot across from the Community Centre in downtown Campbell River for 2021. Mirror File Photo
Pier Street Farmers Market returns to Cedar Street parking lot for 2021

…and it’s hoped that the addition of artisans this year will make it even better

Some recommendations from the Downtown Safety Select Committee have been approved by Campbell River City Council, including removing the glass stage covering at Spirit Square. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Council going ahead with removing Spirit Square stage covering

But mayor acknowledges need for ‘welcoming, warm place with support services’

A small fire on North Rendezvous Island is the first wildfire of the season in the Campbell River area. Officials are asking people to take caution when burning during these dry conditions. BC Wildfire Dashboard
‘Conditions are tricky at the moment’ warns Coastal Fire Centre

Small fire on North Rendezvous Island first of the season for Campbell River area

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read