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Council skirts support for $10-a-day child care

Affordable daycare yes, $10 a day, no.

City council will be writing to the B.C. Ministry of Education advocating for affordable childcare and early childhood education funding.

This followed a request from the city’s social issues committee, asking that council endorse a $10 a day child-care plan, as presented to council in March by Early Childhood Educators of BC executive director Emily Mlieczko.

Coun. Chad Eliason reported to council that a resolution to support the $10-a-day plan would be presented at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, noting that UBCM has avoided proposing “specific program designs such as $10 a day, in order to not limit the range of possible solutions for affordable childcare.” However, he said UBCM has consistently supported resolutions favouring affordable childcare and access to early learning, and he is in favour of council writing a letter to the province doing the same.

“I think it’s just another way we can show our support for helping childcare with assistance, because the positive externalities that would come from a small investment in this are unquantifiable at this point,” said Eliason.

Council voted against the endorsement, but agreed to write a less specific letter using the word “affordable.”

Coun. Marg Kentel, however, warned that no matter what happens, someone would be stuck with the bill, noting the $10-a-day plan was estimated to cost $1 billion, which she couldn’t support.

“I’ve been a working mom all through my years and it would be nice, often, to have better financial avenues behind you to support day care,” said Kentel. “But, to me, if we were spending that kind of money… I would rather see it somehow go where moms can stay home and be with their kids rather than have them be in day care.”

Coun. Alan Harrison could support “affordable,” but not the $10-a-day plan, siding with Kentel, stating the cost would be exorbitant and unrealistic.

“While I have some strong ideas for funding things like early literacy and early intervention, that kind of funding is not comparable to the amount we’re talking about for this plan,” said Harrison.

Coun. Ken Jamieson also supported the letter, and noted that while an affordable childcare program may come at a high cost, the benefits would be worth it.

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