Centre For Family Equity

Centre for Family Equity Presents Recommendations for Budget 2024

June 01, 2023

VANCOUVER, BC; unceded territories - The Centre for Family Equity (CFE) appeared on May 31st, 2023 before the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services to present three budget priorities for the upcoming year. Executive Director, Viveca Ellis, presented, with Research and Policy Lead, Zeynya Alemayehu, supporting in attendance at the Coast Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver. 

Our BC Budget 2024 consultation - recommendations presentation transcript.

The Centre for Family Equity's three recommendations focus on increased funding for family law legal aid for low-income parents, the completion of BC's $10 a Day child care system including publicly-provided before and after school care, and the inclusion of free transit for youth up to age 18 in the provincial Get on Board program.

The first recommendation centered on access to justice and legal aid in family law. CFE emphasized the crucial role of access to justice as a fundamental human right and advocated for increased provision of legal aid for low-income parents and caregivers. Existing barriers, such as exorbitant legal fees and limited eligibility criteria, prevent many individuals, especially mothers escaping intimate partner violence, from accessing the legal support they need, ultimately denying them justice and impeding their safety and well-being.

The CFE's second recommendation focused on the urgent completion of the universal child care system. Despite a commitment made in 2018 to establish a fully inclusive $10-a-Day child care system within a decade, progress has been slower than anticipated. The CFE urged the expedited completion of this system, emphasizing the importance of quality, publicly provided before and after-school care located on school sites. CFE highlighted research, conducted in partnership with the University of British Columbia, that demonstrated the positive impact of affordable and accessible child care on the incomes, health, and overall well-being of marginalized lone-mothers. Conversely, limited access to affordable child care perpetuates inequity and hinders the economic empowerment of families. A child care system with spaces for all was promised for BC, and budget 2024 is an opportunity to fulfill this overdue promise for BC. 

A third recommendation focused on transit accessibility for youth. The Centre for Family Equity applauded the Get on Board program, implemented in September 2021, which provides free transit for children up to age 12 across all transit systems in BC. However, concern was raised that youth aged 13-18 should not be excluded from the benefits of this program. CFE's collaborative research with the City of Vancouver was referenced regarding the substantial benefits of unrestricted transit access for low-income communities, including improved shelter, food security, services, safety, and overall well-being. By extending the Get on Board program to include youth up to age 18, every young person has access to school while simultaneously fostering sustainable transportation practices and addressing transportation barriers.

The Centre for Family Equity team expressed gratitude for the opportunity to present these recommendations and engaged in a full questions period with the Select Standing Committee. 

The Budget 2024 Consultation in now open to the public.

Read the Budget 2024 Consultation Paper and participate by providing written input via the provided online submission form.

The consultation closes at 2:00 p.m. (Pacific) on Friday, June 16, 2023.