Daycare advocate disappointed NDP budget did not include $10-a-day plan

Many parents were left feeling disappointed after Monday’s budget announcement failed to include any mention of the promised $10-a-day daycare plan.

“It was a surprise and a disappointment,” said Sharon Gregson, spokeswoman for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.’s$10-a-day campaign.

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She added that while it was known that Monday’s announcement was an update and not a full budget announcement, many expected at least some mention of the $10-a-day plan, which was an NDP election campaign promise.

The announcement did include an additional $20 million in 2017-2018 for new childcare investments, something that was already in the budget, Gregson said. That money, which will increase provincial funding to $330 million this fiscal year, will support 4,100 new child care spaces.

Gregson said she believes the $10-a-day plan wasn’t included in the budget because the New Democrats and the Green Party could not come to a consensus. While both parties campaigned on making child care more affordable for families, the Green Party proposed free daycare for working parents with children under three, up to $500 per month for families with children under three and a stay-at-home parent and up to 25 hours of free early childhood education for three- and four-year-olds.

Gregson argues that the two platforms are “very closely aligned.”

“Our position is there’s lots of room for alignment there,” she said, adding that her group will be working to ensure the issue is addressed with the full budget announcement in February.

Gregson said any child care plan needs to take a three-pronged approach — making it more affordable, ensuring there are more quality licenced spaces and investing in the early childhood education workforce.

She added that the $10-a-day campaign is inviting parents to gather at the Vancouver Public Library central branch downtown at 11 a.m. Saturday to meet with Katrina Chen, minister of state for child care.

jkerr@vancourier.com

@JessicaEKerr

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