B.C. Liberals’ proposed childcare registry would be useless, advocate says

Yolande Cole, Georgia Straight

The B.C. Liberals’ promises on childcare won’t make much of a dent in the shortage of spaces, according to Sharon Gregson.

B.C. election 2013

“They’re still only talking about 2,000 new spaces over three years, which won’t even begin to address the need in the city of Surrey, never mind the whole province,” Gregson, spokesperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

In their platform, released on April 15, the B.C. Liberals say they will require school boards to create a policy promoting the use of school property between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays by licensed child-care providers. They also pledge to establish a provincewide registry with information about child-care spaces.

In addition, the platform reiterates a plan to implement their Early Years Strategy, which was outlined by the B.C. Liberal government in its February budget, including an allocation of $32 million over three years toward the creation of up to 2,000 new licensed child-care spaces.

Gregson dismissed as ineffective the plan to create a registry of child-care spaces. “They’ve already spent a fortune on mapping spaces around the province, and that does nothing to create more spaces for families; it just tells families where the spaces are that they already can’t afford or can’t access,” Gregson said.

Her coalition wants to see a publicly funded child-care system that would cost parents $10 a day. According to the group, this system would cost an estimated $1.5 billion once it was fully implemented.

Gregson said she’s hopeful the NDP will make a childcare announcement that’s a step in the right direction.

“We are hopeful that whatever the NDP announces, however small it needs to be because of the economic situation, that it will at least be the first steps to fixing the crisis and building a system that meets the needs of children, women, and families in our economy,” she said….