The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the BC Government to immediately communicate, support and consult the Early Care and Learning sector.
“We add our economic voice to the recent call by the Early Childhood Educators of BC to the BC Government to ask for early childhood educators (ECEs) working in early learning and childcare settings to be acknowledged, addressed and focused on to create a collaborative provincial system to unify the sector. They need to be supported in making intentional and responsive decisions to navigate and interpret information and updated health guidelines,” said Anita Huberman, President and CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“We are pleased that the BC Government is going to dialogue with the sector on January 26 through a digital event panel with Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer; Dr. Reka Gustafson, Vice President, Public Health and Wellness, Provincial Health Services Authority and Deputy Provincial Health Officer; Dr. Jason Wong, Associate Medical Director, Clinical Prevention Services, BC Centre for Disease Control; and Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, Deputy Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health.”
“Affordable access to quality childcare, especially in the midst of a pandemic, is necessary for employees to be able to perform at peak productivity, confident in the knowledge that their children are cared for in a safe learning environment,” stressed Huberman. “The pandemic has highlighted how vitally important access to childcare is for our economy to function.”
The Early Care and Learning sector provides care for the only section of our population that currently cannot access vaccine protection. Some of the actions that need to be addressed immediately by the BC Government are:
1. Priority access to COVID-19 vaccination boosters for the sector, for those who want them
2. Access to rapid antigen tests and PCR testing, and personal protective equipment including N95 masks
3. Changes to the K-12 education system need to be made in consultation with the childcare sector so that they are equally able to navigate the potential risks and pressures this creates for centres and educators
4. Childcare centres need financial assistance (emergency funding) to get through this variant. We need to alleviate the pressure on parents having to take time off work and continue paying for childcare they cannot use.
We need the BC Government to take action now for childcare during the pandemic.