April brings child care fee relief to B.C. parents

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Premier John Horgan
Premier John Horgan

Coquitlam: British Columbia parents with children in licensed care will start seeing child care savings of up to $350 a month as early as April, said Premier John Horgan.

“Parents in every corner of B.C. will start seeing their child care bills go down next month,” said Premier Horgan. “These fee reductions will offer families relief, and help people, particularly women, return to work. No one should be forced to choose between child care and other family needs.”

The child care fee reduction is available to families with children up to kindergarten age, who go to licensed child care and whose providers opt in.

“Parents have been left to struggle with rising child care costs for too long,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy. “The child care fee reduction is the first step toward bringing down sky-high child care costs so that families can get ahead.”

To date, providers have applied for fee reductions for more than 18,000 children, and more providers are opting in to savings for families every day. The fee reduction will save parents up to:

  • $350 per month for each child in group infant and toddler care.
  • $200 per month for each child in family infant and toddler care.
  • $100 per month for each child in group care for children aged three years to kindergarten.
  • $60 per month for each child in family care for children aged three years to kindergarten.

“Child care is one of the largest expenses for families, and the fee reduction will help make their lives more affordable,” said Minister of State for Child care Katrina Chen. “For some families, that may be the difference between being able to buy groceries or having to pay for child care, and we’ve heard from others how relieved they were when they found out what they would be saving each month.”

In order to maximize the number of families receiving benefits next month, the government has extended the deadline for child care providers to opt in to April’s fee reduction until April 20, 2018. After that date, providers can sign up for savings for future months at any time.

The child care fee reduction will help providers to keep their program competitive with other programs in their community, and support the families in their programs by lowering their monthly child care costs. Those who choose to participate will receive an increase of 10% on top of their individual base funding to support operational expenses.

“As early childhood educators, we carry a core belief that children and families, who are supported in the early years, have better outcomes as they carry on in their journey,” said Susan Hall-Ford, general manager for the Douglas College Early Childhood Education Society. “In our daily interactions, we have a responsibility to mitigate barriers wherever possible. By introducing the child care fee reduction, this government has inevitably broken down barriers and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Under Budget 2018, the Province has committed $630 million over the next three years to make child care more affordable for families. When fully subscribed, the fee reduction is expected to help approximately 50,000 B.C. families with the cost of child care each month.

“The high price of day care almost made me reconsider whether I could afford to go back to work, even though the thought of not working was scary, both financially and professionally,” said Tracey Schaeffer, whose children attend the child care program at Douglas College. “The new fee reduction not only helps my family immediately, but it also shows me the that this government is on our side. They’re thinking about families and children, and making them a priority right now.”

Quick Facts:

  • Under Budget 2018, the Province is investing more than $1 billion into child care over the next three years to help lay the foundation for a universal child care system that will provide access to affordable, quality child care for anyone in B.C. who wants or needs it.
  • The provincial investment in early care and learning is supplemented by approximately $153 million in federal funding over three years, beginning in 2017-18, through a bilateral Early Learning and Child care (ELCC) Framework Agreement.
  • In 2018-19, the Province will focus on creating more infant and toddler child care spaces throughout the province, as well as reducing monthly child care costs for B.C. families.
  • In addition to the child care fee reduction initiative, another affordability measure will be introduced in September 2018. The new affordable child care benefit will help reduce child care costs for lower-income families by up to $1,250 per month and will support 86,000 B.C. families a year by 2020-21.