Go Figure: Baby Blues
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BABY BLUES: Despite government promises, B.C. has a long way to go to make child care accessible and affordable to all families

The province took its first steps toward a $10/day child-care plan—just in time for kids to be sent home. As families wait to see what COVID brings this winter, we take a look at what’s changed, and what hasn’t, for working parents in B.C.

As of the 2016 census, B.C. was home to 220,625 children under the age of 5.

By 2024, the number of kids under age 12 in Metro Vancouver is expected to grow 7.6%, to 350,068.

Child care is the 2nd-highest expense, after housing, for B.C. families.

Last year, Metro Vancouver had 18.6 child-care spaces for every 100 kids (from 16 in 2011).

Canadian average: 27.2

A 2018 Statistics Canada survey found that 46.5% of B.C. families with kids 5 or under had difficulty accessing child care.

Reasons cited (by share of children, omitting confidential responses):

17.8% Availability

15.9% Affordability

12.6% Flexibility

11.3% Quality

10.6% No licensed daycare

8.6% No qualified daycare

5% Can't take more than one kid

3.9% Other

The B.C. government has funded 10,400+ new child-care spaces since 2018.

53 prototype $10/day child-care sites are now operating in B.C.

Median monthly child-care fees for toddlers, according to a recent survey by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives:

Kelowna $825

Burnaby $1,000

Surrey $1,000

Vancouver $1,112 

Richmond $1,200

Change in rates since 2017: 3% to +6%

Inflation since 2017: 4.8%

Of 4,400 B.C. child-care centres responding to a recent government survey, 69% have a waiting list and 13% charge a fee ($20-$200) to list a child.

1%: gender employment gap between Canadian women and men with children under age 6 just before the start of lockdown, according to a UBC study published in July

2.5%: gap by May 2020

Sources: Statistics Canada, Metro Vancouver, Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, Government of B.C., Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Vancouver Sun, UBC, Gallup