Universal childcare for BCers is one step closer with Monday’s announcement of two new acts.

The Early Childhood Educators (ECE) Act and the  Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Act are a continuation of the 1996 BC Child Care Act, which are aimed at providing quality and accessible childcare.

In a statement the province says, these acts allow ministers responsible for childcare to create new regulations, not limited to setting limits on childcare fees, effectively making childcare more affordable for parents.

The province says the ELCC Act will increase transparency and accountability. This will be through annual reports on progress building a new universal childcare system. 

They say the ECE Act will reduce barriers to certifications for ECEs and will give those who received their training in other countries a temporary certification. They say this is to reduce barriers to help meet a high demand in the province for this type of professionals.

The 2021 budget allows for wage enhancements for ECEs to double to four dollars per hour by the end of September.

The province also says they’re focused on collaborating with Indiginous peoples to support Indiginous-led childcare.  The budget allows for the conversion of 400 licensed spaces into what they’re calling, Aboriginal Head Start spaces. These spaces will provide Indigenous-led, culturally relevant, and no-cost childcare to Indiginous families throughout the province.

Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, says this legislation is an important step in the government’s 10-year Childcare BC plan to give families access to quality and affordable child care.

Since Childcare BC was established by the government in 2018, they’ve funded 26,000 new licensed childcare spaces.