Children and Family Development Minister Mitzi Dean as she introduced two new pieces of legislation on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Screen grab)

Children and Family Development Minister Mitzi Dean as she introduced two new pieces of legislation on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Screen grab)

B.C. inches towards universal child care, pledges to support Indigenous-led initiatives

The Early Learning and Childcare and Early Childhood Educators recapture the original B.C. Child Care Act introduced in 1996

B.C. introduced the creation of two pieces of legislation Tuesday (June 8) to propel child care in the province towards a more inclusive, universal system.

“These acts are long-overdue,” said Minister Katrina Chen of State for Child Care as she proposed the Early Learning and Childcare (ELCC) and Early Childhood Educators acts.

The ELCC, once enacted, will require the Ministry of Children and Family Development to produce annual progress reports on actions its taken, including its efforts to support Indigenous-led child care.

“It will give the minister responsible the authority to create new regulations, including the ability to set limits on child-care fees for parents,” Chen added.

“Parents are going to see fees being reduced in this province.”

RELATED: B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. said the group has been calling for legislation of this kind since 2011.

“There is much more for government to do,” she emphasized.

“We are hopeful this legislation will support the development of the universal, high-quality, affordable public system that British Columbians expect.”

Early Childcare Educators act

The proposed ECE act will see a stand-alone statute established for B.C. early childhood educators of whom Chen said 97 per cent are women.

“People involved in taking care of children will have their information published online in a registry. Registrars will also be able to review investigations and complaints into daycares.”

ECEs who have received training abroad will be able to apply for temporary certification in order to get to work faster, filling gaps in the province’s ECE shortage.

The legislation recaptures the momentum of the original B.C. Child Care Act introduced in 1996, which allowed the minister in charge to administer child care subsidies to parents and prevented garnishment or seizure of them.

“Our government committed to transform the fragmented child care ‘patch work’ into an early learning and child care system,” added Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development.

The legislation will be adapted based on input from the child care sector, advocates, families, First Nations leaders and Indigenous partners, Chen said.

READ MORE: Federal Budget 2021: Liberals pledge $30B for child care with eye to reducing fees



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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