Province increases childcare planning funds to $4 million

Money will assist communities in purchasing land for buildings

Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy (right) announced funding to assist communities to build child-care spaces Sept24 as Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff looked on | Photo: Jeremy Hainsworth

B.C. communities can now apply for up to $4 million in program funding aimed at expanding childcare, including the option for the purchase of land to build new spaces, Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy said Sept. 24.

The funding builds on earlier monies announced a year ago through the Community Child Care Space Creation Program and the Community Child Care Planning Grant Program, which provided $1 million.

By combining funding with the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, local governments can now access up to $4 million per project.

“We hear from local leaders about how important it is to have good quality childcare to create a family-friendly community and attract employers to their cities and towns,” Conroy said. “These grants are a strategic investment to ensure spaces are created where they’re needed most, strengthening communities and our economy.”

Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff said her town received $900,000 last year to add 18 new licensed child care spaces to the Osoyoos Child Care Centre — the first expansion since the centre opened more than 20 years ago.

She said the funds allow not only early childhood education but also local construction jobs.

“This partnership means parents in our community will no longer have to drive to nearby towns to find quality childcare for their children,” McKortoff said.

The program provides local governments with up to $25,000 to plan for the long-term childcare needs of families in their communities.

Both programs are delivered in partnership with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

Applications are being accepted for the Community Child Care Space Creation Program until Nov. 22 and the Community Child Care Planning Grant program until Jan. 31.

Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions said lack of childcare led to one local mother losing her job, which led to the possibility of losing her home.

“Through our community childcare planning work, our community is getting a solid understanding of what and where our needs lie,” she said. “We are so thrilled to have had the opportunity to work through this program and are excited to now move forward informed with a strong, locally made plan to create child care spaces in our community, catered to our community.”