As an owner-operator, the details of implementation are what make the difference between financial viability for your centre or shutting down. There are provincial and federal commitments to a universal child care plan - so change is coming and can not be avoided. Government funding will come with accountability measures, and that also can not be avoided.
We are hopeful, however, that we can provide consultation and recommendations for an implementation plan for a BC Universal child care model - one that, long term, will address the staffing crisis, quality of care, and offer financial terms that are acceptable to market based operators.
This survey will introduce several Universal Child Care models to you, as possibilities for BC. We invite you to consider how these models might work for your business, and then to offer your concerns about each model, as well as the parts that you like. There are costs and benefits to all of these models; what is important is to begin to rule out models that would not support the diversity of child care in BC.
Once we receive feedback, we will put it together in a cohesive platform and present these findings to the government.
This platform will NOT be a step-by-step implementation plan, or only one plan, for Universal Child Care.
It will be several of the possibilities listed here that as child care operators, we believe are worth looking in to. It will include our concerns that should be researched. It will also recommend that these models are all tried in the upcoming "prototype" programs, by operators - market based and not for profit - who believe in them, so they can be tested and researched prior to any universal roll-out. We have outlined the basic details of each of these plans, and suggested possible funding formats, but are aware that
We hope that they take our research and recommendations seriously and we have been offered the opportunity to sit down and present and discuss our platform once we compile this survey.
Child care operators have the experience in starting up and sustaining quality child care centres in BC, and our experience should not be ignored. Thank you for taking the time to consider each of these implementation plans. Every voice added provides more information that is desperately needed.
PLEASE NOTE - WE HAVE SUGGESTED PERCENTAGES AND NUMBERS WITHIN EACH MODEL AS SUGGESTIONS ONLY, TO HELP UNDERSTAND THE MODELS. It would be great to have feedback around the reasonableness of these amounts, but please do not get caught up in the amount details. We are looking for an overall approach and not for the specific amounts.
GRANDFATHERING IN EXISTING OPERATORS - WE KNOW THAT IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE MODELS WOULD TAKE TIME. Any implementation would need to have a significant transition period, during which all care providers and educators must be given support (financial and otherwise) to be able to upgrade education if desired, and prepare for any operational changes that might be required. We also believe that any operators who did not wish to upgrade education requirements or change to a universal model should be grandfathered in to current operational standards, so that individual businesses are not threatened or destroyed by a universal system, or changes to educational or licensing requirements. Accordingly, the transition period and supports required have not been directly addressed in this survey. The basic understanding of a transition period and grandfathered education / operation will be clearly stated in any final proposal.
WAGES AND EDUCATION - All of these models make a base assumption that the "gold standard" of education for ECE will be equal educational hours as an elementary school teacher, and equal hourly pay and benefits as an elementary school teacher. This is heavily supported by research, and BC has a history of supporting different employment sectors in moving to new educational standards. This historically means that people who are currently licensed based on current education requirements are grandfathered into the new system so that they can continue to work without upgrading education, if they so choose; funding and paid time are paid towards supporting educational upgrades if desired.
EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL TRAINING - All of these models make a basic assumption that educators deserve equal pay for equal education levels and certification. It doesn't matter if they work in Family Child Care, In-Home Multi-Age Care or Group care. Discriminating between care types by providing different rates of pay to educators with the same education level is wrong.