Advocates seek child care help: The Township was asked to endorse subsidized daycare across B.C

Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance

Advocates of publicly subsidized childcare called on Langley Township council to support a revamp of the province’s daycare polices….

The key is to create a universal system that would cost a maximum of $10 a day, with no fees for families making less than $40,000.

High costs and a lack of spaces are the key concerns the group wants to address with their plan, said [Sharon] Gregson.

“It’s a bigger, provincial issue and it needs provincial leadership,” she said.

Making childcare cheaper will allow more people, especially women, to enter the workforce, generating economic growth and tax revenues, said Gregson.

The coalition wants the childcare system to be moved out of the province’s Ministry of Children and Family Development and into the Ministry of Education.

Budgets for local childcare would be administered by boards of education.

That idea resulted in questions for Gregson from Councillor Charlie Fox, a former high school principal.

Fox wanted to know if principals would have to take over organizing daycare, as well as elementary and high school students, and if schools would have to suddenly integrate pre-school kids in daycares.

Gregson said principals, already with many duties, won’t have to take over the job. In some cases, where schools are partly empty, daycares could be integrated into the buildings, making better use of the space.

However, in places like Langley, where many schools are already overcrowded, that obviously wouldn’t work, said Gregson: “We need to be creative about how we currently use public space, but also to recognize we need to build new childcare spaces out in the community.”