The provincial government announced several additions to the $10 per day childcare program on Friday, Dec. 2, including one in Courtenay.
The Comox Valley Children’s Day Care Society (CVCDCS) Lighthouse Early Learning Centre, at 1000 Cumberland Rd., received funding for 16 spaces to accommodate children aged 2.5 years to kindergarten.
“The Comox Valley Children’s Day Care Society is excited to have another of our quality programs become a $10 a day site for child care in the Valley,” said CVCDCS senior manager, Charlene Gray. “Lighthouse Early Learning Centre in Courtenay is licensed for 23 children from 30 months to school age. Along with the recent announcement of additional fee reductions for non-$10 a day sites the cost of licensed child care is becoming more and more affordable.”
Lighthouse Early Learning Centre joins Tigger Too as a $10 a day site for the CVCDCS, giving the society 60 child care spaces and 20 preschool spaces operating as $10 a day.
The Today ‘n’ Tomorrow Learning Society, located next to Vanier Secondary, also has 43 childcare spaces in the $10 a day program. The Little Friends Early Learning Centre is for three- to five-year-olds (19 spaces), and the Teddies ’n Toddlers Childcare Centre cares for those up to three years (24 spaces).
“For many people, the cost of childcare has a huge impact on their family budget,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “These $ 10-a-day childcare spaces save families hundreds of dollars each month, and ensure that parents don’t have to decide between paying bills, and paying for childcare.”
Spaces in the $10-a-day program reduce the average cost of child care from $1,000 a month for full-time, centre-based infant care to $200 a month for the same service, saving families an average of approximately $800 a month per child.
While the news of added seat subsidies is encouraging, Gray said there is still a massive shortage of childcare availability in the Comox Valley.
“While all of this is wonderful news there are still very long wait lists for spaces,” she said. “Currently a family can expect to wait up to two years for a space. Many parents go on the wait list the moment they know they are expecting, and even then the wait is long. The severe shortage of early childhood educators is certainly a barrier for opening new spaces and keeping current space operational.”
Gray pointed out that there was a Day of Action for Early Childhood Educators held on Nov. 30, calling on the government to speed up the creation of a ECE wage grid.
“We celebrate the fact that parents are paying far less for childcare , and yet we know the missing piece of the puzzle is recruitment and retention of early childhood educators,” she aded.
The Lighthouse Early Learning Centre is accepting registration on an. ongoing basis. Parents can call 250-339-3033 to be added to the waitlist.
In total, more than 2,450 more childcare spaces moved into the $10 a Day ChildCareBC program throughout the province in December.