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Delta asking for help getting more childcare spaces

The city says the province has already acknowledged the critical role of municipal governments
The City of Delta says municipalities are uniquely positioned to plan, manage, design and implement programs within their local communities but are limited in their capacity to implement community childcare action plans. tookapic/Pixabay

The City of Delta wants the province to provide more help for municipalities to undertake childcare initiatives.

A motion to be put forward by Delta at this September’s Union of BC Municipalities convention requests that the provincial government provide local governments with funding for human resources to coordinate the implementation of municipal childcare action plans and projects developed through New Spaces Funding to support the expansion of childcare.

The motion notes that the province is taking steps to deliver quality and affordable childcare to more families, as outlined in the Child Care BC Blueprint, and acknowledges the role of municipal governments in the process and financially supported the Community Child Care Planning Program, as well as continues to administer the New Spaces Fund.

However, municipalities are limited in their capacity to implement community childcare action plans.

“While local government has a key role to play, childcare is predominantly a provincial and federal responsibility. It is thus recognized that the local government lacks the resources and mandate to address childcare needs in the community. While strategic partnerships with others can make an important contribution, local governments must have adequate capacity to facilitate the important work outlined in local Child Care Strategy and Action Plans, if the provincial government is to be successful in attaining the goals outlined in the Child Care BC Blueprint,” the motion states.

Five years ago the province announced an expanded investment in the childcare sector, including $237 million to improve access to affordable, quality childcare, including funding the creation of new licensed childcare spaces. Municipalities across the province were encouraged to support the roll out by contributing to the planning through the Community childcare space and planning programs.

In 2020, council approved a new Delta Childcare Strategy and Action Plan.

The strategy includes 24 recommendations, which are grouped into three strategic directions including increasing accessibility, increased affordability as well as a focus on quality.

The plan includes working towards a goal of adding 1,051 new childcare spaces over 10 years to reach the Canadian average ratio, as well as having a partnership with the Delta School District to explore options for co-locating childcare programs in elementary schools.

The city received a grant through the Community Child Care Planning Program to undertake a childcare needs assessment, which found 80 per cent of survey respondents reported that there is an inadequate supply of childcare services.