The Plan aims for affordable childcare: Advocates present proposal

Lexi Bainas, Cowichan Valley Citizen

Affordable childcare for B.C. may be more than a pipe dream if a group of Valley supporters have their way.

Next week, they are rolling out “The Plan” – a set of suggestions aimed at forcing government to move more quickly to help families, according to Mary Dolan, chair of the Cowichan Valley branch of the Early Childhood Educators of B.C.

“We’re trying to get as many people out as possible involved. We want to give parents hope that there is a possibility of a $10-a-day plan for those earning $40,000 a year and free service for those earning less,” she said last week….

What’s prompting the push here?

“For decades, we have worked with families, seen their faces and heard their stories,” she said, adding that looking at fresh solutions is such a positive thing.

“What a wonderful stress relief for those who have families, for those who are planning to have families in the future. They’re looking at questions like: can we even afford to buy a house?” According to Dolan, there’s a groundswell of interest in this plan, which is similar to the Quebec model but is made to fit B.C. needs.

“It’s based on national and international research and involves work with early learning experts. It’s cost-effective and will work; it ties in with the ‘new deal for families,’ which really needs to be set in place because those under 45 now are really, really struggling,” she said.

Unexpected support has come from some high-level business groups such as the Surrey Board of Trade, who see it as making good economic sense, she added.

The work has been done, the plan is there; it’s now up to families to say they want it.

“Society could be looking at a service of early care and learning that works for families. It includes longer parental leave, recognizing that is a need, that it helps everybody.

“Hopefully, it will move B.C. towards reaching some of the international benchmarks,” she said…