Letter to the Editor. File photo.

Letter to the Editor. File photo.

Letter to the Editor: Minister responds to Cranbrook childcare study

Parents throughout the province, and especially in smaller centres like Cranbrook, have been struggling to find quality affordable child care for too long.

Years of underfunding by the previous government left families and communities across B.C. in a state of a crisis. Fixing the problem won’t happen overnight, but we’re making progress.

Thousands of parents are returning to work, going back to school or pursuing other opportunities, thanks to the Province funding more than 10,400 new, affordable licensed child care spaces.

We’ve put millions of dollars back into the pockets of families through our affordability initiatives, including helping parents in Cranbrook save more than $1.5 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.

We’ve also made significant investments to improve supports for B.C.’s early care and learning professionals. To date, the Province has invested more than $13 million to provide more than 10,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, with another $1-per-hour lift to come in April 2020. This includes more than $85,000 for early childhood educators in Cranbrook.

We’re beginning to see the results of these efforts, but we know there is more to do.

We hear from local leaders about how important it is to have good quality child care to create a family-friendly community and attract employers to their cities and towns. It’s why we created the Community Child Care Planning Grant program and last year the city of Cranbrook received a $22, 310 grant.

This program empowers local governments and allows them to assess their current child care circumstances and identify what local families will need over the next decade.

I look forward to continuing to work with the city of Cranbrook to ensure quality child care spaces are created where they’re needed most, strengthening the community and our economy.

Katrine Conroy

Minister of Children and Family Development

MLA – Kootenay West