British Columbia

Free daycare! B.C. Greens strategy aimed at children under 3

The B.C. Green Party has promised free daycare for working parents with kids under the age of three as part of its pre-election education strategy.

Plan would also give student tax breaks, invest in work experience training

Working parents with children between the ages of one and three would have access to free daycare under the B.C. Greens, according to a party strategy released Wednesday. (CBC)

The B.C. Greens have promised free daycare for working parents with children under the age of three as part of the party's education strategy.

On Wednesday, party leader Andrew Weaver announced plans to "remodel" the province's education system by funding early childhood education, public education, post-secondary and adult learning.

The plan also includes up to 25 hours of free, early childhood education a week for three- and four-year-olds.

Families with children under three and a stay-at-home parent would be eligible to $500 a month.

The program would be phased in over four years and cost the government $1.7 billion every year, according to a statement. 

Some parents in B.C. say they're forced to quit their jobs to take care of their kids because they can't find childcare. (CBC)

Currently, the federal government gives the province $1 billion for childcare, but that doesn't affect families who don't pay for daycare monthly.

The Green's program would be funded, in part, by taxing parents who make more than $80,000 a year on the program.

NDP, Liberal plans

The B.C. NDP has pledged to adopt a $10-a-day childcare plan.

Experts project that would cost the government $1.1 billion by 2020 — but would also generate at least $1.2 billion in tax revenue. 

Under that plan, parents who earn less than $40,000 a year would have child care for free.

NDP Leader John Horgan has said tax cuts for B.C.'s higher earners would be reversed to fund that program.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals have said it will create 13,000 new licensed child-care spaces throughout the province by 2020.

The party has also said it's invested $26.5 million to create thousands of licensed child-care spaces since 2014.

The provincial election is being held on May 9.