It could be another bump on the road as B.C.’s NDP government rolls out its new child-care plan.
One Victoria daycare operator says she has space ready to accept more kids, but can’t find the staff to make use of the potential extra slots.
Brenda Irvine says she’s lined up everything else, including a licence, for her fifth daycare location on Vancouver Island. But finding a qualified early child-care educator (ECE) is proving elusive.
“I have a brand new location opening and I don’t have a teacher,” Irvine told Global News.
“I just finished looking on my phone for like three hours for anybody in child care in Victoria,” she said.
“Another daycare’s looking for an ECE and there were some posts and I go on there and I say, ‘I am offering this.’ I mean, I work at it every day.”
Irvine says paying rent and utilities on the property with no money coming in is stressful, and that she’s already gone out of pocket by about $5,000.
She said she’s hoping the government moves soon to top up ECE salaries.
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Right now, Irvine is just one of dozens of operators looking for qualified staff. There are currently 67 job postings on the Early Childhood Educators of B.C. website alone.
The province has earmarked $136 million for training and wages for ECEs over the next three years, including new money for post-secondary training.
When it unveiled its child-care plan in the 2018 budget, the government said it intended to bring on 2,300 new early child-care educators by 2021.
In recent months, the B.C. government has rolled out a number of other major planks in its child-care plan.
At the beginning of August, it launched a new portal through which parents can apply for a direct per-child subsidy meant to help offset the cost of child care.
And in the spring, it launched a second subsidy program for licensed child-care facilities designed to lower their fees.
The province has also initiated a $221-million grant program meant to spur the creation of 22,000 new child-care spaces.