Katrina Chen, B.C.’s minister of state for child care, was in Langley on Monday visiting daycares as part of a swing through the Fraser Valley.
Chen visited the Kids in the Grove centre, toured the new Aboriginal Headstart program in Aldergrove, and took part in a roundtable discussion in the afternoon.
Langley has seen a huge influx of children and families over the last few years. At the school level, Langley saw an increase of 1,000 enrolments in the last year. That also means more young children in need of daycare.
The province has made multiple announcements of expanded daycare spaces in recent years, but Chen said they are also working on ensuring there are enough staff to fill those roles.
“The challenges have always been there,” with regards to staffing, Chen said.
Last year, the government announced a $4 per hour wage increase to child care workers, along wit a change to create a salary grid for early childhood educators. The idea is to ensure predictability and wage growth with experience for those working in the industry, Chen said.
The Ministry of Advanced Education is also expanding seats for Early Childhood Education programs.
One thing that Chen said she heard was that people want more seats in education programs for those jobs closer to home.
Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman said she and Chen heard from several parents who grew up in Langley and are now seeing their children going into childcare and school in the same neighbourhoods.
“It’s such an important part of community-building,” Dykeman said of the daycare programs.
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