The Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund is supporting the District in providing 60 new licenced childcare spaces in Kitimat, at the Tamitik Status of Women (TSW)’s 24-hour childcare facility.
The new facility, which is expected to open in 2022, will have 12 infant and toddler spaces, 16 school-age spaces, and 32 group multi-age child care spaces. TSW will operate the facility through a partnership with Haisla Nation, and is the only 24-hour childcare facility in B.C., according to Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development.
“Partnering with the District of Kitimat will help create a community hub that will provide wraparound supports for local families and the community at large,” Conroy said. “This new facility will have housing and support services for women, as well as round-the-clock child care to support parents who work shifts at projects like the LNG Canada site. This will give them the freedom to work while knowing their children are well cared for.”
The B.C. Government has been working to increase accessibility to childcare, as well as affordability, as one of their main mandates. The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund has provided funding for more than 16,800 new spaces so far throughout the province, helping parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities to help support their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This space in Kitimat came about due to the overwhelming need for extended childcare for people, primarily women, working in trades, who may have shift work or longer hours and need help taking care of their children and families, Conroy said.
The childcare centre will be part of a new accommodations facility TSW is building in the Strawberry Meadows neighbourhood of Kitimat, which includes various stages of housing for single women, as well as women with families.
“The Tamitik Status of Women non-profit society has worked tirelessly to foster equality and opportunity in our community,” District of Kitimat mayor, Phil Germuth, said. “This provincial funding will allow them to open B.C.’s first 24-hour child care centre and subsequently enable all community residents to take advantage of the many around-the-clock career opportunities, knowing their children have a safe place to learn and grow.”