British Columbians looking to pursue a career in child care will soon have access to hundreds of new bursaries, according to the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

The province is increasing funding for early childhood educators (ECEs) bursaries by $1.9 million this year. In 2018, the ECE bursary program granted over $2 million to roughly 1,1000 applications.

“Early childhood educators have an extraordinary opportunity to help children in their earliest stages of life,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in a statement.

“Investing in child care professionals and students is a major step forward towards giving every child in British Columbia access to quality learning and child care so they can have the best start in life and have a fair chance to succeed.”

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This nearly $2 million investment is part of the province’s Childcare BC program, which hopes to establish a universal child care system. To reach this goal, the BC government has promised to invest $1.3 billion in child care over the next 4 years.

In September 2018, the province allocated $10 million from Childcare BC to support ECE funding, which is being administered by the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia (ECEBC).

“We need to invest heavily in the early childhood education sector to keep up with the pent up demand for quality child care throughout the province,” said Katrina Chen, B.C.’s Minister of State for Child Care in a statement.

“Because the profession was neglected for so long, we have a lot of catching up to do. By working with ECEBC, we hope to give the kind of support these professionals have always needed and deserved, but have not received until now.”

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