This study investigates rural women’s access to regulated childcare in British Columbia. Through a mixed-methodology investigation, 36 mothers in focus groups across rural BC revealed the most significant barriers affecting their ability to access childcare in their communities. These included cost and affordability, social stigma, isolation, subsidy eligibility, and a lack of available programs and services. A documentary analysis provided further support to demonstrate the importance of regulated childcare availability on women and children’s ‘well-being status’ and life opportunities. A range of policy options to address these barriers were subsequently evaluated against selected criteria. Interviews with some of the foremost experts on regulated childcare contributed to a careful assessment of these options. This led to a number of recommendations including the formulation of a comprehensive provincial policy framework, an inter-ministerial networking model, followed by targeting provincial investments to new and existing childcare spaces, and creating a centralized monitoring waitlist system.
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