Sharon Gregson speaks to a crowd at Kicking Horse River Lodge about child care.

Looking for a solution to B.C.’s child care crisis

A guest speaker in Golden talked about a plan to create a better child care system in the province.

Sharon Gregson was in Golden on June 11 to give a presentation to child care workers and local residents about a plan to create a better system for child care in British Columbia.

Gregson, who works at the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, has been getting out in the province to explain what changes are needed to have a system which would makes the lives of the workers and children involved with child care better in the future.

“It was clear to me that Golden has a very committed group of citizens what want to make a positive difference for children and families in their community. I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness of the questions from the audience, the level of interest and the willingness to engage with a new solution to an old problem,” Gregson said. “The calibre of the people attending the event convinced me Golden would be a great place to advance the Plan.”

“The Plan” Gregson spoke about would look at reversing many of the issues which have gone from bad to scary according to Gregson over the past 10 years.

She looked at high fees for parents, low wages for educators, too few quality spaces for children and the growth of corporate ‘big-box’ child care operations as some of the major problematic issues facing the industry today.

The goal is to increase awareness and support for the Plan across the province leading up to the May 2013 provincial election so that all candidates wanting to be elected as an MLA will know that they will attract votes if they commit to implementing the Plan as a solution to the current  child care crisis,” Gregson said.

“To do this we are launching a series of campaigns – starting with the province-wide postcard campaign directed at current MLA’s, that is available by emailing info@cccabc.bc.ca.

She went on to explain it is very difficult to be a child care provider in B.C. right now.

The fact that many child care providers enter the field and stay in the field is a testament to their dedication and commitment to the children and families of their community. The example of an early childhood educator still earning just $13/hr after working with children for 17 years is not acceptable. Now it’s time for them to have the level of respect, remuneration and opportunity for education that they rightly deserve,” she said.

Gregson said it important for the government in B.C. to step up and take care of the “crisis” and do the “right thing.”

The answer is that now we have a specific Plan on how to address the issues. We are providing government (of whatever political stripe) with the Plan and an implementation schedule,” Gregson said.

“I was asked if the Plan means that taxes will go up. The answer is that politicians set priorities all the time on how they will collect and spend our tax dollars. Whether it’s a new roof on a sports stadium, a convention centre, healthcare spending increases, security at the G20 Summit, transit expansion, new bridges, are all examples – our position is that government needs to make childcare a priority and there needs to be tax fairness in Canada.”