In response to Minister Katrine Conroy’s Letter to the Editor dated January 30th 2020 entitled “Minister responds to Cranbrook Childcare Study” I would first like to say it was both misrepresentative and lacking in substance.
Currently, Cranbrook is lacking daycare space and resources for close to 1,600 children. This is a big increase when we are seeing not-for-profit and market-based daycare spaces close in the past couple of years. The Minister has offered nothing to the community outside of last year’s grant to assess need. The need has now been identified and is clearly falling on deaf ears.
The Minister also gave false credit to herself. It was the former government of the BC Liberals who left the NDP with 107,000 child care spaces, the Early Learning Framework, Strong Start, and all-day kindergarten for 5 year olds.
Moreover, of the 10,400 spaces the NDP boast of creating, only 2,055 are actually working! After close to 3 years of trying this is not success.
Remember the big promise of $10 daycare? I do, one constituent claimed that I was getting in the way of his young family accessing affordable daycare. I tried to tell the person that this was simply not a costed plan but a pilot project for only 53 lucky providers. None of them were in Cranbrook. Well, all we have seen on this big election promise is 2,500 spaces (2% of the total space in BC), and none of them are new. So far the NDP have failed to deliver.
The NDP have nearly ignored the real problem of labour shortage and the ability to attract and retain Early Childhood Educators, a profession very much underestimated. Instead, the NDP have created more demand by subsidizing parents without the workers to support the increased demand. Now providers all over the province are burning out as they work incredible hours to make up for the lack of qualified ECEs.
Finally, the NDP are pushing market based providers out of the field by favouring public and non-profit daycare, even though 80% of providers are market-based!
Let me be clear, we have some very fine subsidized and non-profit daycare facilities…my children went to an awesome non-profit facility. However, our childcare system will not work without all of us working together and welcoming market-based providers.
So far, the NDP are failing at their goal of 24,000 new incremental childcare spaces over 3 years. They will not be able to do it and we will make sure to hold them to account for it in Victoria.
Tom Shypitka, MLA