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Early childhood care act could bring B.C. in line with UN, advocate says

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Author: 
Vikander, Tessa
Publication Date: 
13 Feb 2019
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VANCOUVER—Affordable child-care advocate Sharon Gregson said B.C. could soon fall in line with the United Nations’ convention on the rights of children by creating an early care and learning act.

At Tuesday’s throne speech, the province’s lieutenant governor promised to develop new laws mandating “universal access to quality, affordable child care.”

Gregson is a spokesperson for the $10aDay Child Care campaign, which is led by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC. She said the throne speech suggests the government will create a new act that relates specifically to affordable child care.

“There needs to be a new early care and learning act because right now child care and early learning are a little teeny tiny part of the (BC) School Act and the care and education of young children needs its own legislation,” she said.

This would enshrine the rights of kids to access safe, culturally appropriate care, she said, which is a right laid out in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“What we hope it will include is the rights of young children to access quality, developmentally appropriate care. The rights of parents to access affordable care on a voluntary basis, and the rights of Indigenous families to access Indigenous, culturally appropriate daycare,” Gregson said.

Last November, the BC New Democrats implemented an 18-month long $10-a-day daycare pilot program. The project is providing safe and affordable licensed daycare spots for $200 or less per month to families at 53 daycares across the province.

The campaign is now calling for an expansion of the pilot program.

Star Vancouver reported on the pilot program’s impact and spoke with four families benefiting from the program. Parents told the Star that because of the savings they are less stressed, eating healthier, paying down debts and enrolling their kids in extracurricular activities.

This, Gregson said, “really shows how important public policy is to the everyday life of British Columbians.”

“We’re calling now for a second wave of the prototype,” she continued, explaining there are communities in the province that were left out of the pilot program and are “clamouring” to be included.

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Entered Date: 
20 Feb 2019
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