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YMCAs of BC applaud continued provincial investments in children and youth

YMCA of Northern BC CEO Amanda Alexander
YMCA of Northern BC CEO Amanda Alexander

The YMCAs of BC welcome the provincial government’s continued commitment, in B.C. Budget 2021, towards universal child care, youth mental health, and youth employment.

Monday’s historic federal investment in child care, coupled with Tuesday’s commitments in British Columbia’s budget, demonstrates an understanding that there is no economic and social recovery without child care.

“We are pleased to see steps towards addressing the serious labour shortage of child care professionals by increasing the wage top-up to $4/hour and adding new postsecondary education spaces,” the association’s said in a joint statement. “We support additional growth of child care spaces for Indigenous children, and are happy to see an expansion of $10/day universal child care. The need for affordable child care is even more important now, as we move through the pandemic, and we had hoped to see a more rapid growth of these locations over the 75 new sites that are promised. The YMCA has been operating six of the 53 Universal Prototype sites across the province. We will look to the Federal child care investments and how these dollars will support further expansion.”

The federal budget put a focus on non-profit child care in the proposed pan-Canadian early learning and child care program. The YMCAs said the non-profit sector is vital in this growth. They provide a depth of experience, high quality curriculum, child safety standards, and a commitment to collaboration to serve the needs of children and families, they said.

“Non-profit child care providers have laid the foundation of the current child care system, long before this significant provincial and federal investments we are seeing now,” said Amanda Alexander, CEO of the YMCA of Northern BC. “As child care migrates to the education sector, non-profits will be vital in a smooth transition to a seamless, universal model of care.”

The YMCA has strong partnerships with many municipalities and schools, supporting the design, building and operating high quality early learning and child care.

“We are well-positioned to do even more for children and families,” she said, adding the YMCA welcomes additional investments to support youth through, and after, this pandemic including youth mental health and employment/training services. There is a strong connection between employment success and positive mental health, and they hope to see funding that provides full spectrum services for youth to become, and remain, successfully employed.

“We were hoping to see sector resilience funding for the non-profit sector in today’s budget announcement. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and intensified vulnerabilities in our communities, and the charitable and non-profit sector is best positioned to help communities recover. Non-profits have been heavily called upon to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis yet, because of the crisis, our ability to fundraise and provide fee-for-service programs has been greatly affected. Our sector’s ability to respond to urgent community needs is at risk, and requires urgent leadership from our governments.”

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