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Katie Hyslop,

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Taking care of children

Stable housing gives families a chance to disrupt the cycle of poverty. But in order to stay out of poverty, families also need an adequate income. For parents of young children without affordable childcare, that’s hard to achieve.

Childcare spaces are a scarce commodity in B.C. Families shell out anywhere from $600 to $2,000 a month for childcare of varying quality. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is asking Ottawa to invest $2.3 billion this year alone to meet national childcare needs. The Coalition of Childcare Advocates of B.C. meanwhile puts the additional cost to taxpayers of introducing good quality, affordable childcare here for one to 12 year-olds, at $1.2 billion over five years.

If B.C. were to adopt a provincial childcare strategy for just three to five-year-olds, into which government put $4 for every $1 that parents were required to pay, $475 million would keep more than 45,238 children in care spaces for a year or support two years of care for 22,619 children.

The investment would pay for itself, Yarema says. [NOTE: Megan Yarema, director of education and outreach with the national charity Canada Without Poverty]

“Publicly funded childcare not only helps families economically, but it also allows more women to enter and stay in the workforce,” she said. “In Quebec, where a universal childcare program is in place, labour force participation of women has increased. This means more financial stability for families and more money into the economy.”