MLA Joan McIntyre has been working on the daycare file for more than two years now, first recruited by her constituents to solve the issue and more recently since she was made the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth.
The province helps out daycares by providing subsidies for spaces, as well by giving grants to low income families. To that end the province has increased its annual budget for childcare by $8 million last year to over $300 million - one of the only areas to see an increase as the B.C. government cuts back.
But McIntyre says the loss of federal funding is having an impact that the province isn't something that the province can make up at this time. And fixing the issues surrounding daycares, ranging for teacher availability to space, is not easy because no two daycares are the same.
"It's important to note that the province is not in the day care business, mostly day care is provided by private operators or non-profit agencies," said McIntyre. "We don't run day care, we just try to support the spaces and families who use them."
For SSCS, McIntyre says the issues with daycare closures were budgetary, and reflected issues with budgets, pensions, wages and other issues. As a result, the SSCS was put in a position where they had to cut programs, and chose to cut daycare.
For Whistler, the issue with Spring Creek is related to the size of the building first and foremost, as well as a lack of teachers.
"It's a difficult situation for us," said McIntyre. "We're trying to do what we can to fasttrack (acceptance of child care certificates from out of province), we try to support families that need subsidies and we help with operating expenses. In the past with the federal government we put our money into capital to create spaces, so we're very aware of the need."
McIntyre says the province needs to develop a single approach to daycare, as it's difficult to solve problems when every daycare has its way of doing things and challenges. "My main message is that we're aware of the difficulties and we're trying hard to plug in where we can, and looking at how we can do this differently going forward," she said.
As far as the teacher issue goes, McIntyre says the province has dropped the certification period for out-of-province Infant Toddler and Early Childhood Educators from three months to two weeks, "but the applications have to exist in order to approve them," she said.