Over the last few months I’ve talked with hundreds of families of all shapes and sizes trying to find space in Victoria. Core to these families’ struggle, and livelihoods, is finding secure, safe, quality child care. In Victoria, we have a huge gap that is pushing families over the edge – here are but some of the common stories I hear from families struggling to make it work and how you can help me tackle these problems at City Hall.

THE HOUSING CRUNCH

I introduced you to Eliza & her son Nolan. Eliza is a care provider and a few years ago her home-based daycare was forced to close and relocate when the home she was renting went up for sale.  Significant investments are required to make sure a home is up to licensing standards, and those investments are lost when a care provider has to move. When I ask Eliza what she would do if her current rental went up for sale? She has no idea. Rent has gone up so much and it is harder and harder to find a sufficiently large place for 8 littles to play. Eliza’s business and care for those kids are vulnerable to our city’s housing crisis. In a city-wide childcare action plan, we must consider the tie between the housing crunch and care crunch! Can we consider longer leases for care providers? Can we explore opportunities for more security for neighbourhood home-based care?

GOOD PAYING WAGES FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS

Judy, Kyle and their two littles also have a story to tell. Four-year old Greyson was in in a day care he loved – so much outside play, a weekly visit to a farm, a short walk to the beach. A gem of a place! But it closed. Why? They couldn’t find early childhood educators (ECEs). The pay for ECEs is not sufficient in this city where affordability is tough. How do we make sure that those we are entrusting our kids with are able to make a living wage and are able to live in the communities they work in? The provincial government is moving on some of these issues, including an increased wage for ECEs, but we need the city involved and tackling affordability and housing issues.

GIVE UP YOUR JOB OR UNSAFE CARE?

A few weeks ago, I told you a story that was mostly about family housing and affordable units, but, like so many, Bronwyn and Evan’s story includes a care issue. When Bronwyn went back to work after having her second child, they did find care for their kiddos, but they didn’t exactly have lots of options. In fact, the care quickly became unsafe and when it did, they were not able to find an alternative and Bronwyn had to leave her job. She was able to do this because her family was in an affordable housing unit through BC housing. If they weren’t, they may have had to face a situation of choosing between unsafe care and housing.  The job Bronwyn left involved providing care and resources to those facing addiction. Our city needed her too!

We need more spots, we need more safe reliable care. Families & communities cannot wait.  We need a plan that shows us what the city is doing to make it difficult for businesses and not-for-profits to open spaces and what we can do proactively to encourage and facilitate childcare.

Let’s do this. Let’s make sure families have safe care, let’s make sure ECEs have living wages and can live in the communities they work in, let’s build care so that businesses can find employees and so that those employees feel good about where their kids are every day. Sign my petition for a city-wide strategic action plan: https://gracelore.ca/petition/