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Dollars to daycare and back again

By Lorraine Graves

Published 12:18 PST, Thu November 14, 2019

The day may have dawned cloudy, but the mood was bright inside the new home of the Little Wings daycare at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Tuesday. 

When the daycare had to move, it was looking at facilities with fewer spaces for children. Then YVR and Air Canada stepped up, with the provincial government also providing additional funding. The new location now offers 10 more spaces for children than it did before. 

In an Air Canada building on Sea Island, near to Skytrain, Little Wings offers a convenient and affordable option for parents working at the airport. 

Offering the ultra-valuable spots for infants and toddlers means that parents who must work, can.

It also means fewer days off. Parents in attendance spoke of suddenly having to call in to work to cancel when their patchwork of child care options didn’t work. Another told of her mother coming over from the Island for two weeks at a time to take care of her grandchild so she could be at her much-needed job. When grandma became seriously ill, the plan crumbled. 

Another mother said, “When we got the phone call that we got in (to daycare) you don’t know how excited I was.” She said that meant she wouldn’t have to phone around to try to arrange for child care when the existing plan fell through. 

“I didn’t realize how hard the stress was wearing on me as a mom. Parents shouldn’t have to go through that,” she said. 

Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy said, “For too long, families have been struggling to find affordable quality child care in their community.”

The B.C. government has funded more than 10,400 new affordable licensed daycare spaces in two years. 

“As a mother, I know how hard it can be to find quality child care close to home,” said Minister of State for Childcare Katrina Chen.

She spoke of the peace of mind that comes when you can drop your kids off at a daycare that offers the nurturing support they need to grow. 

“We know there is still more to be done and we are committed to finding new ways to partner with providers, non-profit organizations and governments to bring child care to more families,” she said.

With more applications for provincial assistance in the pipeline, Premier John Horgan said he expects the number of new daycare spaces to grow even more.

“Daycare is not a social program. It is an economic program,” Horgan said, repeating the Conference Board of Canada finding that for every dollar spent on daycare, society and taxpayers reap $6 in benefits.

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