As part of a commitment to an inclusive, universal childcare system, work in collaboration with B.C. First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Peoples to implement a distinctions-based approach to support and move forward jurisdiction over child care for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples who want and need it in B.C.

Ministry of Education and Child Care

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How far along
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How are we
working together?


Work is underway to finalize a First Nations Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) and Government of Canada.

Standing up the First Nations early learning and child care (ELCC) grants providing funding directly to First Nations to address self-determined child care priorities for their communities. Nations began reporting out on the grant funds through a brief survey in March 2024, which will help to inform future planning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

In 2023, the Ministry hosted a series of webinars and in-person, regional engagements to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples to support the work of advancing jurisdiction of child care for Indigenous Peoples in B.C. who want or need it. Ministry staff worked in collaboration with Indigenous partners – B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) , First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Aboriginal Head Start Association of B.C. (AHSABC), Métis Nation BC (MNBC), and BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) – to plan these engagements.

Ministry staff also hosted a series of webinars in February 2024 for First Nations, including Modern Treaty Nations, Métis, and urban Indigenous partners to consult and engage on the proposed review of the child care subsidy regulations (CCSR).

Continued expansion of the Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) program providing no-fee AHS services to families. AHS is community designed, developed, and delivered culturally based ELCC program with wrap around supports for families.

43 First Nations were engaged on the CW-ELCC Action Plans and a total of 13 individuals representing First Nations, one Modern Treaty Nation and two Indigenous organizations along with MNBC attended the child care subsidy regulation (CCSR) webinars.

$35 million in First Nations ELCC grants was made available each FY 22/ 23, 189 First Nations accessed these grants in 22/23, another process is underway to send an additional $35 million in grants out in 23/24; $50 million to Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) for minor capital and operational funding to roughly 1,780 AHS spaces province-wide in 2023/24 providing no-fee AHS child care for families. The number of AHS spaces is expected to grow in future years to over 2,300 spaces and further anticipated growth to approx. 2500 spaces by 2026.

$0.574 million for MNBC to continue their early years navigator program. Since its inception, the Métis early years have enrolled over 1,700 children into the Métis family connections program to support Métis families in accessing early years and child care programs grounded in Métis culture.  $0.5 million for MNBC providing a Métis-led delivery of child care supports and services to Métis families, providers, and organizations across the province. Additionally, $10.47 million to MNBC (to support 126 new child care spaces with priority for Métis children, open to all Indigenous families).

How are we working together?

The Ministry meets regularly with Indigenous partners to maintain and strengthen relationships.  

In response to October 2022 resolutions from Union of BC Indian Chiefs, BC Assembly of First Nations, and First Nations, Education and Child Care staff are working on a First Nations early learning and child care (ELCC) tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) with First Nations Leadership Council and the Government of Canada.  

Ministry staff meet bi-weekly with FNLC, BCACCS and FNESC for guidance on First Nations child care and approaches to consultation and co-development with First Nations. 

In the fall of 2023, the Ministry worked with FNLC, BCACCS and FNESC to co-develop a First Nations ELCC consultation and engagement plan. Phase one consultation focused on broad engagements and phase two consultation will focus on the question of jurisdiction in ELCC. 

In April 2023 the Ministry engaged with First Nations regarding their priorities for the 23/24 to 25/26 Canada Wide-ELCC action plan. Eight regional in person engagement sessions across the province were co-developed and co-hosted with BCACCS, AHSABC, FNHA, MNBC, and BCAAFC on ELCC in the winter and spring of 2024. Engagement is being planned with MNBC to co-host ELCC webinars with Métis Chartered Communities in Spring 2024.

Are there challenges?

To support the long-term goals of Action 4.19, there will need to be fundamental shifts in the child care system. In the meantime, changes to exiting policies and processes are underway which aim to support self-determination. These changes include implementing new approaches to funding and engaging in ongoing consultation with Indigenous Peoples.

Fiscal year and federal/provincial deadlines do not align with the need for meaningful engagement and consultation with First Nations, Métis, and urban Indigenous service organizations. The Ministry will need to work alongside First Nations and Métis partners to understand the distinct pace and sequence of activities that will advance respective jurisdiction of child care.