Statement by minister of state on Metro Vancouver’s living wage

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Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, has released the following statement in response to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s report entitled Working for a Living Wage 2019:

“In just one year, our government’s Childcare BC plan has made life more affordable for families living in Metro Vancouver. The living wage needed for the area has decreased to $19.50 an hour. Without these long-overdue supports for families, the living wage would have increased to $22.47 an hour.

“Everywhere I have travelled throughout B.C., I have heard from people about the struggles they face in finding affordable, quality child care. For too long, parents have had to make difficult choices. Families have told me about taking multiple jobs to afford child care costs and putting careers on hold to stay home because they could not afford child care. I’ve heard from families who have had to choose between food and rent, or have moved away from the place they call home because life was unaffordable. This is wrong.

“Our two child care affordability measures – the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative and the Affordable Child Care Benefit – have contributed to the first major reduction in the living wage needed for Metro Vancouver in 11 years, and we have only started on our path toward universal child care.

“During this past year, as our programs have rolled out, I have started to hear other stories. I’ve heard from families who can now afford to buy homes and stay and work in their neighbourhoods. I have heard from single parents who can afford to go back to school and from families who thought they never would be able to pay off their debts and have savings.

“At the provincial level, Childcare BC has already put close to $200 million back in the pockets of B.C. parents. More than 4,000 new child care spaces throughout the province have already been approved for funding. More are being approved every month. In April of next year, early childhood educators – the heart of B.C.’s child care system – will get their second dollar-an-hour wage enhancement in as many years.

“As we celebrate child care month this May, we remain committed to delivering universal, accessible, affordable child care for B.C. parents. While the past 12 months have seen B.C.’s child care landscape improving for families, there is still a long way to go to reach this goal. The coming months and years will bring even more new spaces and affordability measures as we build on Childcare BC.”

Quick Fact:

  • 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.

Learn More:

Childcare BC:

Child care factsheet: