Parenting struggling with crippling daycare fees finally have reason to celebrate. They’ll soon save up to $550-a-month after the province and the federal government unveiled details of their affordable child care plan on Friday.
“To all the parents, I want to tell you as a mother myself, we feel you,” said Katrina Chen, BC’s minister of state for child care during a press conference at the Cascade Heights YMCA Child Care in Burnaby. “For the parents who have been struggling with childcare, we feel you. We understand that childcare is critical for our economy, for our young children and for families’ well-being.”
Friday’s long-awaited announcement is the result of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2021 budget promise of $30 billion over five years to nationalize child care and make all spaces $10 a day by 2026.
BC was one of the first provinces to make a deal on child care with the federal government in July 2021, agreeing to spend a combined $3.2 billion on child care in the province over five years.
The amount parents will save varies depending on the type of child care center and the age of their child. Parents whose children attend licensed group daycares will save $550 a month for infant/toddler care under three years old, $445 a month for children three to five and $220 a month for after school care for children in kindergarten.
Parents in home daycares will save $400 a month for infant/toddler care, $440 a month for children three to five and $260 a month for after school care for children in kindergarten.
That means, for example, a family with a 10-month-old and a three-year-old in group care could save up to an additional $11,940 a year.
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The savings, which take effect Dec. 1., will be on top of the province’s fee reduction initiative which already cuts fees for licensed group daycares by $350 a month for infant/toddler care and $100 a month for children three to five.
That combines to a total savings of $900 a month for parents whose children attend the most expensive types of child care. About 69,000 children are expected to receive the fee reduction.
Parents do not have to apply for the funding, which is not income-tested. It will be automatically applied to daycares already enrolled in the fee reduction initiative which the province says is 96 percent of child care spaces.
Karina Gould, federal minister of families, children and social development, who joined Chen and Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside in Burnaby for the announcement, said the hundreds of dollars in savings will reduce the cost of living for families with young children.
“I like to talk about childcare as a home run. Because it’s good for our kids, it’s good for our families and it’s really good for our economy,” she said.
Gould said the funding will help women stay in or re-enter the workforce because high child fees disproportionately impacts mothers, many of whom have opted to stay home with their children as the cost of child care is more than their wages.
The savings can also be combined with the province’s affordable child care benefit — received by families making less than $111,000 a year — which means some parents will see their daycare fees drop to nothing.
Chen said this will bring down the average daycare fees to $21 a day, down from an average of $53 a day before any government subsidies.
The province is also expanding the number of $10-a-day spaces to 12,600 by the end of the year. Currently about 6,500 spaces are subsidized to the $10-a-day rate but parents have complained that the program, which is not based on income, benefits some while leaving others behind.
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