Child care is getting less expensive and easier to find in Kelowna as the province invests in 68 new child care spaces to give more parents the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.
“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in such a relatively short time,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Families have been struggling to find affordable, quality child care for too long. Our investment in these spaces not only provides relief for families, these quality learning environments give the children the foundation to learn and explore their world and contribute long-term to the local Kelowna economy, benefiting business and community alike.”
The announcement means the morning routine will soon be easier for parents at UBC Okanagan, as 20 of the 68 new spaces will be built on campus at the University Children’s Learning Centre Society. The centre will soon offer 10 new infant/toddler spaces and 10 for school-age children.
“UBC is proud to partner with the Province and the University Children’s Learning Centre to enhance child care services in the Okanagan,” said Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal of the Okanagan campus. “This important investment in the well-being of our growing campus community will allow more parents to study and work at the university, knowing their children are well cared for in a nurturing learning environment. Thank you for this timely and much-needed investment.”
Two other projects in Kelowna will also provide new spaces for parents. Willowstone Academy is creating 28 new spaces, while the District of Lake Country is creating 20. All three facilities will be fully accessible and run by non-profit organizations. The spaces are expected to be operational by the end of next year.
More than 260 new, affordable licensed child care spaces in Kelowna have been funded by the Province since the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund launched in July 2018. They are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history, with more than 10,400 being funded in the past 15 months. With the addition of 900 spaces that have been funded through partnerships with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and Aboriginal Head Start using federal funding, and 4,100 spaces created through the 2017 Budget update, more than 15,400 spaces have been funded in B.C.
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is part of the Province’s Childcare BC plan and supports its commitment to give B.C. families access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it. Since July 2018, the Province has funded more than 10,400 new licensed child care spaces through Childcare BC. More new spaces will be announced as projects are approved.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.