Council champions child care concept

Charelle Evelyn, Prince George Citizen

Prince George will add its name to the list of B.C. municipalities in support of affordable child care.

During Monday night’s meeting, city council endorsed the $10 per day child care plan as presented by the Coalition of Childcare Advocates of B.C.

According to Sharon Gregson, 19 other municipalities throughout the province have already subscribed to the group’s solution created to solve the “child care crisis facing B.C. families.”

The problems include high child care fees, parents’ low wages, few space and commercial child care chains Gregson referred to as the “Costco of childcare.”

“We don’t think that’s the solution,” she said.

The plan aims to reduce daily parent fees for full-time early care to $10, which Gregson said would be cheaper for the province than the tax credits currently offered.

Funding would also raise the average wage for early childhood educators to $25 per hour, plus benefits.

“We’ll never have a quality childcare system if we never have quality people working there,” said Gregson.

Members of council called the proposal and their endorsement an overall win.

“It’s clear to me there’s overwhelming good sense in this proposal… and I’m sorry we haven’t gotten to it sooner,” said Coun. Dave Wilbur.

The city has nothing to lose by encouraging the province to adopt the plan, said Coun. Garth Frizzell. “I think it’s a win and to see that there’s already four provinces in Canada that have gone this direction and three territories says a lot.

The province of Quebec has a $7 per day childcare model, which B.C. advocates are looking at as a success.

In 2010, the average amount of operating support per childcare space in B.C. was $1,278 per year, compared to $5,200 in Quebec…