Charlene Gray applauds the B.C. government for creating 22,000 new licensed child care spaces over the next three years, and for implementing parent reduction fees.
For children under three, a full-time child care space has been reduced by $350 a month for a parent. For children over three, the reduction is $100. However, Gray, the executive co-ordinator of the Comox Valley Children’s Daycare Society, said the biggest piece missing is wages for early childhood educators.
“The hard part is finding the staff to work there,” she said, noting North Island College plans to create more spaces for ECE training. “But no one’s going to want to do it if they’re not getting paid right. I know government promised to address this, so we’re going to hold them to it.”
The Children’s Daycare Society pays an average wage of $17-$18/hour, for someone with an ECE certificate.
“We know we have to support the workforce,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, who visited the Comox Valley Child Development Association Tuesday. “We cannot build a system without early childhood educators who are working hard every single day. But it’s the most challenging piece we’re facing, because it takes time to look at how we can provide better compensation to all early childhood educators in B.C. There’s a lot of work we’re doing behind the scenes.”
Government hopes to roll out initiatives about recruitment/retention strategies by the end of summer.
“I think that our community is beginning to make a child care plan,” Gray said. “Things happen haphazardly in our sector a lot, and it seems like the government now is rolling out a plan that has a purpose, and I think communities are going to be charged with making their own comprehensive plans.”
The Children’s Daycare Society is one of many member organizations of the Comox Valley Early Years Collaborative, a network committed to improving the life chances of children. Its vision is to reduce development vulnerability to 25 per cent by 2025.