NEW) GUARDIANSHIP SOCIAL WORKER & CHILD CARE ADVOCATE
Mom on a Mission In Premier John Horgan’s o ce, on a shelf behind the desk, there is aphoto of Baby Mac, the 16-month-old boy who died in January at an unlicensed daycare in Vancouver. The photo stands not only as a reminder of the NDP’s promise to create an aordable licensed child care system for all but also as a testament to the strength and determination of Mac’s mother, Shelley Sheppard. One week after her son died, Sheppard harnessed her grief and called for “massive reform” of the province’s daycare system. She and her partner, Chris Saini, wrote an open letter in which they said they didn’t want their “sweet boy’s death to have been in vain.” Judging by the government reaction, it wasn’t.
In March, Ottawa announced it would give B.C. $90 million a year to help to address the child care crisis. By April, aordable licensed child care had become a key issue in the lead-up to the provincial election. The $10-a-day child care campaign was gaining signicant traction and the NDP promised to make it areality—albeit gradually, over 10 years—if elected.
“Her willingness to advocate for change is inspirational and I know has made a dierence,” Sharon Gregson, spokeswoman for the $10-a-day campaign, said of Sheppard. “Her staunch support for building a better system so that her tragedy does not happen for other mothers is heroic.”