Seventy new licensed childcare spaces will benefit families living in the Prince Rupert region and Haida Gwaii as part of the provincial government’s commitment to increase child care during the COVID-19 pandemic the Ministry of Children and Family Development announced, on March 1, in a press release.
The 62 new spaces in Lax Kw’alaams and eight spaces in Haida Gwaii are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C’s history and are part of the 20,000 new spaces announced in Sept. 2020 the press release read.
“Having access to high-quality child care that is close to home is a game-changer for families,” Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast said.
“For people in our north coast communities, not being able to get their kids into child care can be a barrier to being able to take advantage of employment and other opportunities. Creating new spaces like these ones is a vital investment in creating strong communities overall,” Rice said.
The Lax Kw’alaams daycare center set to open in Sept. 2022 will be the community’s first child care center with spaces for 12 infants and toddlers, 16 for ages three to kindergarten, 17 pre-school spaces, and 17 school-age spaces.
DANU Child Care Centre in Haida Gwaii provides childcare spaces for children up to 12-years-old.
“Until we opened, there was no full-time child care in our community of Daajing Giids,” Alicia Embree owner and operator of DANU said.
The funding for DANU supported the building of a secured, covered outdoor play area and will also be used for a dedicated nap area as well as an art studio for the children.
“These will help us to continue to increase our numbers in order to serve more families and provide high-quality experiences rich in nature and art-focused play,” Embree said.
Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, said the new child care spaces for families in Haida Gwaii and Lax Kw’alaams will bringing the province one step closer to delivering the quality, affordable and inclusive child care that all B.C. families deserve.
“Child care for families is key to B.C.’s economic recovery, and these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, to pursue their own goals by returning to work or school,” Chen said.
Since July 2017 more than 24,500 new licensed spaces have been funded in B.C, including 512 in the Northwest, the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada the media statement read.
Throughout the province, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month per child through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative. As a result of these investments, parents in the Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert region have saved more than $2.5 million with early childhood educators in the two areas receiving more than $120,000 in wage enhancements, the media statement reads.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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