Province leaves 89% of its first-year funding unspent and misses most of its targets
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2023
British Columbia’s implementation of its Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government got off to a very slow start, according to a Cardus research brief.
Child Care Funding Update: British Columbia – Year One examines how British Columbia fared in the first year of the five-year agreement it signed with the federal government in July 2021. British Columbia received more than $349 million in the first year of the agreement to bring it into what the federal government hopes will become a national $10-a-day daycare system.
A key finding in the research brief is that British Columbia failed to spend most of its funding. In fact, the province left 89% of its first-year funding on the table, missing most of its targets, including for funding Indigenous-led child care programs.
British Columbia did create more than 1,200 licensed child care spaces in the first year of the agreement, exceeding its modest goal of 850 such spaces. However, in order to meet its Year Five goal of 30,000 new spaces, the province will need to churn out 7,000 new spaces every year.
“British Columbia’s implementation of its child care funding agreement with the federal government stumbled out of the gate,” says Peter Jon Mitchell, Family Program Director at Cardus. “Governments have consistently underestimated both the costs and complexities of creating these systems. Directing funding to parents, instead of child care spaces, would be fairer, faster, and more effective.”
The research brief also commends British Columbia for being one of the few provinces and territories to publicly post its progress in implementing its Canada-wide child care funding deal.
Child Care Funding Update: British Columbia – Year One is publicly available online. Cardus has also published updates for Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, and will later publish updates for the other provinces and territories.
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