Our provincial government has taken some important steps towards bringing affordable, universal childcare to British Columbia. Yet as someone who works in the sector knows well, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to make sure child care workers get the wages and education they deserve, and B.C. families get the quality affordable child care they need.
That's why on October 10th we went to Victoria with a team of early childhood educators, parents and child care advocates and our allies at the Coalition of Child Care Advocates to meet with members of the New Democrat BC Government Caucus. Together we shared stories from the front lines and our ideas for solutions to the child care crisis with almost 30 provincial Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) throughout the day. Our main message boiled down to two words: professionalism and respect.
ECEs are trusted with the enormous responsibility of ensuring that our youngest children get the early support, care, and education they need to flourish. Yet despite this crucial role, workers remain grossly underpaid and their critical contribution to child development remains unrecognized. So, we made clear that without first addressing the serious issues faced by ECEs, it will be impossible to address the shortage of child care spaces in B.C.
We left the meeting feeling energized, heard and with a sense that our movement is only growing stronger. As one member put it, "It was so empowering to be able to share my story with members of the government and to let them know why they need to put child care firmly on the agenda".
Our union is most effective when we work together. After all, you are the experts in your field and it's your voice and your story that will make all the difference when we are pushing for change. We hope many more of you will get involved as our union continues to push for improvements in the sector and as we continue to build the movement for quality affordable child care for everyone.
Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Andrea Duncan, Component 3 Vice President
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