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Provincial 2022 budget allows for investments in childcare and programs for B.C. families

Childcare considered a necessity, not a luxury says State for Child Care Minister Katrina Chen
B.C. State for Child Care Minister Katrina Chen said that expanding childcare in B.C. is essential to better support the development of children and to ease pressure on parents and guardians. (Black Press Media file photo)

Access to childcare is set to improve in the province as further investments in child care programs come to fruition – reducing costs for parents and expanding on care spaces.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development announced Thursday (March 3) that it will be expanding two programs that contribute to early childhood development – JustB4 and Seamless Day Kindergarten.

Seamless Day kindergarten will expand to 36 schools throughout B.C. over the next three years, a program that integrates before and after school care in the classroom.

The Just B4 program will expand to 14 more school districts for the 2022-23 school year, a pre-Kindergarten program designed to support children before they enter Kindergarten.

ALSO READ: Sooke School District sees steady numbers for kindergarten registration

“When I meet with parents, educators and others looking out for kids they always talk about the importance of the early years – early childhood education helps children to thrive,” said Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside.

Whitside added that programs like these allow parents more freedom to work outside the home, to support families and build a good future for their loved ones.

“We were so excited to have a program open in the school our son would be attending for kindergarten,” said mother Carly Nichol, whose son attends the JustB4 program at Columbia Elementary school in Penticton. Nichol added that it has been a fantastic introduction to their school community.

The 2022 provincial budget looked at how Childcare BC investments made since 2018 will benefit the creation of 30,000 new spaces for children under age six by March 2026, and a total of 40,000 spaces by March 2028.

“Childcare is treated as a luxury rather than a necessity,” said State for Child Care Minister Katrina Chen, adding that this needs to change to better support B.C. parents and the positive development of children.

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