Campaigns and Issues

Child Care and COVID-19

The BC Government’s March 20th news release announced supports for the child care sector during the COVID-19 crisis, followed by an FAQ document on March 25th.

In response, the Coalition of Child Care Advocates BC (CCCABC) and the Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC) have continued to raise important questions and concerns about the way BC is handling child care during this pandemic and the pressure being put on early childhood educators. ECEBC published their members’ questions for government on March 25, having already called for the temporary suspension of all child care programs while a concrete and comprehensive emergency plan is developed for the child care sector. Check their website and Twitter feed for updates.

The CCCABC’s statement points out that child care is essential and has 5 specific recommendations for the provincial government in this emergency:

“The child care needs of essential workers and the health and safety of children, families and early childhood educators will NOT be achieved through a fragmented approach. Expecting already under-supported child care programs, dedicated early childhood educators and stressed parents to make individual decisions about whether to stay open, work in or attend child care is not the way forward. Therefore, we support the provincial government to immediately:

  1. Implement an emergency child care plan to provide free age-appropriate child care services for all children whose parents are designated as essential workers
  2. Close community-based programs that are not required to care for the children of designated essential workers.
  3. Continue to pay all child care staff.
  4. Suspend all parent fees while programs are closed.
  5. Maintain all government funding to service providers during closures and provide additional funding to compensate for the loss of income from parent fees and/or parent subsidies.”

First Call’s March 25 ECD Roundtable meeting heard these questions and concerns echoed by child care providers, child care resource and referral centres, services working with children with special needs, and other early childhood service providers from around the province.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development has been hosting teleconference information sessions this past week to provide updates from Ministry staff about temporary emergency funding for CCOF, as well as take questions.

Note: For information on federal COVID-19 economic response measures, click here.