BC Chamber of Commerce Calls for Child Care Plan at Annual Meeting


“Quality child care is no longer just a social issues; the business community of BC now views child care as one of the key factors in addressing the labour shortage in BC. The ability to recruit and retain workers in all industry sectors is underpinned with a worker’s ability to secure quality child care that meets their needs. A comprehensive Strategic Plan for the Child Care system in BC is critical to staying competitive in today’s global economy.”


BC Chamber of Commerce calls for child care plan, BCGEU Alert

The BCGEU and our partners in the “Child Care – Let’s Make It Happen!: campaign share a vision of a truly universal, affordable child care system and take issue with some of the Chamber’s recommendations, such as the proposal to use public funds for private capital funding for child care spaces.

However, as a whole this resolution signals a significant and positive shift in consciousness on the part of business.


Related articles:

B.C. chamber calls on government to boost child-care funding
Trail Daily Times
12 Jun 2007
By: Raymond Masleck

Child-care providers are excited that their campaign for more government support has been endorsed by a key business organization.

“This has been years in coming,” said Sue McIntosh, head of the Trail Childcare Resource and Referral Centre. “This is a huge step that the business community is finally recognizing that work and child care go hand in hand.”

A resolution from the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce calling for an immediate increase in funding and a plan to provide more support for families in need of child-care gained unanimous support at the recent annual meeting of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

“We have taken what is traditionally a social issue and have had the chamber step forward and recognize it as a business issue,” said Sue Bock, a director on the provincial chamber’s board.

The key issue for business is the growing labour and skill shortages that have spread from the larger centres to small town B.C., Trail chamber manager Pam Lewin indicated. Local businesses are looking for employees and there are qualified people interested in taking the jobs, but they can’t because of lack of child care, she explained.

“There has been a huge change in the economy that is reflected in the huge drop in unemployment figures, across all sectors,” Lewin said. “It has had a greater impact in rural areas because we don’t have the same pool of workers.”

“It is a deterrent for young families coming to this region,” added Bock “and to kids wanting to move back here.”

The Sunshine Children’s Centre in Trail has a waiting list of 29 children for the eight spaces in its infant program and 39 on the list for its 18 spaces for three- to five-year-olds. Some of the slack is being picked up by private day cares, but there aren’t enough of those either.

“We had six referrals today with an average age of 2 1/2 and we couldn’t find one space,” said McIntosh.

With child-care wages running at $13-$14 an hour locally, with no benefits, the centres aren’t able to attract workers, and there is no capital or operating funding available to expand spaces. Sunshine received a $150,000 matching grant from the province when it built its facility, a source of funds that is no longer available.

“Our big concern is that we can’t increase the number of spaces because of the capital cuts,” said Sunshine manager Lynn Proulx. “Our economy is growing but we can’t provide the services to keep up with it.” …


B.C. chamber …. at provincial meeting
Victoria Times Colonist
May 29, 2007
By: Carla Wilson

… A total of 240 delegates from chambers around the province attended the meeting. …..Another Greater Victoria Chamber resolution to help tackle labour market shortages by creating more child care spaces for children up to three years old also won support.

If family child care centres were permitted to add one more child under three, and possibly offset that by reducing the number of older children, that could potentially open up 1,350 new spaces, the chamber said.

It can be difficult to find child care for younger children, Carter said….