It appears accessing more child care spaces may get easier in B.C.
Today (June 10), the provincial government announced new legislation that will change its licensing regulation to allow new options for families looking for a place to take care of their children while finishing up the work day and they may not have to go too far.
Two new licensing categories are set to be created that would see more spaces on school grounds for school-age care, as well as for recreation centres to expand on its means to provide drop-in options.
The news comes to the delight of Coquitlam school trustee Jennifer Blatherwick, who’s also the chair for School District 43’s (SD43) Tri-City Task Force on Child Care.
She believes this will lift a lot of weight and concerns off parents’ shoulders.
"Improving access to quality, affordable and inclusive child care is key to supporting families in growing communities,” said Blatherwick in a news release.
“The Coquitlam School District-led Tri-Cities Task Force identified the licensing of child care spaces in schools as a significant barrier to creating new spaces and are pleased to see the new School Age Care on School Grounds licensing category.”
As schools are built with K to 12 students’ safety in mind, licensed child care providers will be exempt from certain requirements, including a minimum floor space, washroom facilities and outdoor play areas.
“This category will [also] make it easier for school boards to use school facilities, which are already designed to meet the needs of children, to participate in providing before- and after-school care in our communities,” added Blatherwick.
Meanwhile, the new recreational care license is set to allow flexible drop-in and after-school programs run by organizations like YMCA, United Way and the Boys and Girls Club.
“For too long there were barriers to creating child care spaces on school grounds,” said B.C. Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen.
“Last year’s changes to the School Act combined with these regulation improvements will enable more child care programs to be offered on school grounds and through local recreation programs, making pickups and drop-offs easier for parents and giving kids a safe place to go after school.”
For more information about the new child care licensing legislation, you’re encouraged to visit the B.C. government’s website.