The YMCA of Greater Vancouver welcomes the provincial government’s continued commitment in B.C. Budget 2022 to support universal child care, and the pandemic recovery of the charitable sector.
Last week, we heard clearly from this government in the StrongerBC Economic Plan, that there is no economic and social recovery without child care. We support additional efforts to make child care more affordable for BC parents, particularly the new announcement to reduce school-age child care fees in 2023-24. We are also pleased to see the continued expansion of spaces, however the growth of child care requires a rapid increase in early childhood educators. The current workforce is far behind what is required for existing child care spaces.
Due to labour shortage of early learning and care professionals, the YMCAs in BC have nearly 400 unfilled child care spaces in early years and school-age child care. The YMCA recognizes the province has been making comprehensive investments to address this workforce challenge. However, we hoped to see a greater urgency to finding, and funding, innovative solutions to this very serious labour shortage.
The YMCA is pleased to see a continued focus on the growth of non-profit child care in the federal and provincial child care investments. As experts in child care for over 46 years in BC, the YMCA provides a depth of experience, high quality curriculum, child safety standards, and a commitment to collaboration to serve the needs of children and families.
With the shift of child care to the Ministry of Education, we look forward to building even stronger partnerships with municipalities and schools, designing, building and operating high quality early learning and child care programs.
“Non-profit child care providers have laid the foundation of the current child care system, long before this significant provincial and federal investments we are seeing now” says Stephen Butz, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. “As child care migrates to the education sector, non-profits will be vital in a smooth transition to a seamless, universal model of care.”
Today, the government acknowledged that the charitable sector is vital in the recovery of our communities through and out of the pandemic. After being left out of the COVID-19 business recovery grants, the province has allocated $30 million for the recovery and resiliency of our charitable sector.
Butz reflected that “Non-profits and charities have seen the same, or greater, revenue losses as private businesses but we have not received similar levels of support. We are pleased to see this $30 million fund for our sector to ensure that individuals and families continue to receive the programs and services needed at this critical time.”
The YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs of B.C. are dedicated to helping people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities live engaging, rewarding lives. The YMCA is committed to partnering with all sectors through this crisis, using our collective strength and faith in our ability to recover. The YMCA looks forward to working with the Government of BC in the coming months and years.