B.C. legislature session kicks off Tuesday with speech from the throne
The BC NDP is expected to unveil its new affordable child-care plan in Tuesday’s speech from the throne. The plan will be bolstered by $153 million in federal government money that will be targeted at low-income and vulnerable families.
The B.C. government and the federal government have signed an Early Learning and Child Care Agreement that commits funding for delivering early learning and child-care promises. The provincial government will receive about $50 million each year for the next three years from Ottawa.
“Our plan is going to be about bringing quality, affordable and accessible child care to B.C.,” said Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen. “People will see immediate affordability reliefs but we also want to build a system together.”
The federal money can be used for fee subsidies, training, professional development and quality assurance. The agreement also states that British Columbia will target children under the age of six from lower-income, Indigenous, lone-parent and under-served community families.
The NDP has promised to implement a province-wide $10-a-day child-care program. Child care is expected to be a central part of the government’s speech from the throne that will be read Tuesday afternoon by Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon.
The throne speech is expected to offer a broad plan for what the government hopes to execute over the next year. It also sets the stage for funding commitments that will come in next week’s provincial budget. The focus is expected to be on both child care and housing affordability.
The NDP will also be required to make a number of legislative changes over the next few months.
“It is also no surprise that we are going to be dealing with cannabis and all issues involving cannabis and there are significant issues on that and I am expecting changes at ICBC may also require legislation,” said NDP house leader Mike Farnworth.
Tuesday also marks the legislature debut of Andrew Wilkinson as Leader of the Opposition. The Liberals are vowing to engage with British Columbians, which is something they were criticized for not doing while in government. The opposition will also focus on keeping the NDP accountable on commitments like $10-a-day child care.
“It’s important to hold the NDP to account for the types of things they promised British Columbians when they were running for election,” said new Liberal house leader Mary Polak.
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