More child care spaces are coming to Comox.

It’s among the 34 B.C. communities getting additional licensed child care, as part of the province’s Childcare BC plan.

The town is creating 16 spaces at the Aspen Grove Children’s Centre. 

They are expected to be available by April 2022.

Since March, when the province announced more than 13,000 new licensed spaces, an additional 3,160 new licensed child care spaces have been funded under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.

“Despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, our goal to create new child care spaces throughout the province continues to gain momentum,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. 

“We’ve been able to fund nearly 16,800 new spaces in the past two years, helping to fulfil our promise of better, more affordable child care options for children and families throughout B.C.”

July marks the second anniversary of the launch of the fund, under which an average of 700 new spaces have been approved for funding each month.

Recent changes to the School Act are designed to make it even easier for school boards to create and operate before- and after-school care. 

The changes will also require school boards to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy.

“For too long, families throughout B.C. have struggled to find quality, affordable child care close to home,” said education minister Rob Fleming. 

“We’re making it easier for child care to be delivered on school properties, because children benefit when they spend more time in spaces that are already designed for enrichment and play, and families save time and money with one central drop-off location in their neighbourhoods.”

An additional 4,110 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total to nearly 20,900 spaces since July 2017.