The Cowichan Lake area is in need of childhood development support

It was not a surprise to read that the majority of residents in Lake Cowichan said they would like an early learning centre to be the partner in the construction of a new elementary school.

It was not a surprise to read that the majority of residents in Lake Cowichan said they would like an early learning centre to be the partner in the construction of a new elementary school.

In Canada, more than 70 percent of mothers with very young children are in the workforce but there are only regulated child care spaces for about twenty percent of their children.

Using the 2006 census statistics, Social Planning Cowichan found that nearly 55 percent of female lone-parent families in Lake Cowichan lived with low income compared to seven percent of families led by a couple.

Affordable child care spaces would provide an opportunity for those women to work more hours and increase the income of their families.

Canada has one of the lowest levels of investment in early care and learning compared to other industrialized countries. And that is hurting our economy.

A study by social economists of Switzerland’s investment in early care found that where affordable child care was available, the rate of hours worked by mothers almost doubled.

That means better productivity, higher contributions to our tax system and less use of social assistance. And it means better outcomes for families.

Unfortunately, the federal government has no comprehensive policy on early childhood development supports even though it does provide funding through the Canada Social Transfer program, which pays for child care along with post-secondary education, social assistance and social services.

Even in areas of clear federal jurisdiction such as First Nation children living on-reserve, there is no plan to ensure these critical years in a child’s development are supported through planned investments.

I met recently with members of First Call BC, a youth and child care advocacy coalition of over 90 providers in the province.

Their main recommendation on early care was that governments should stop relying on the fees parents pay to fund child care services and stop counting on the private sector, whether non-profit or for-profit, to create spaces.

Instead, governments should take a leadership role in public planning, public funding and public reporting of early care.

I look forward to seeing what happens with the partnership for the new elementary school in Lake Cowichan. I know that residents have told governments exactly what they need to see this community thrive.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyer tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

B.C. BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

Coming up in Cowichan: Irrigation; Palestinian children; fun with fungi

The Cowichan Watershed Board is presenting a free efficient irrigation workshop

BC Budget: NDP push for purpose-built rentals in ‘historic’ $1.6B housing investment

Hundreds of thousands of new low- and middle-income units coming over three years

B.C. BUDGET: More for wildfire recovery, campsites

NDP government to hire 20 more Conservation Officers this year

B.C. BUDGET: Surpluses predicted for three years

Tax revenues up, ICBC losses weigh heavily on provincial books

Parts of B.C. see record-breaking temperatures in cold snap

Sechelt, Yoho National Park were the chilliest ever Monday

Claim dimissed against RCMP over 2008 B.C. woman’s murder

Mother of Lisa Dudley, shot in her home along with her partner, had alleged negligence

B.C. cold snap prompts energy use spike

BC Hydro is reporting a 10 per cent increase in the energy demand in the last two days

COLUMN: Benning stands firm on Gudbranson, will keep him with Canucks until 2021

Canucks opt to not trade the 26-year-old defenseman, but sign him to multi-year deal

Most Read