In February 2018, the B.C. government announced a three-year $1-billion investment through the Childcare BC plan – the most significant child care investment in B.C.'s history.
The investment continues in Budget 2020, with $1.4 billion for Childcare BC, bringing the total investment in child care programs to $2 billion over three years. Childcare BC has three key pillars: affordability, accessibility and quality: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative: Introduced in April 2018, the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative helps lower the cost of child care for parents at approved licensed child care facilities by up to $350 a month per child. To date, approximately 62,000 child care spaces have been approved for a reduction, saving parents more than $214 million since the program launched in April 2018. Providers who have been approved for the initiative are listed online: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/optin
Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB): Introduced in September 2018, the Affordable Child Care Benefit saves eligible parents up to $1,250 a month per child. Families earning up to $111,000 may be eligible for savings, and the benefit will support around 80,000 B.C. families. As of July 2020, approximately 53,000 families are receiving some level of support through the benefit, helping to put more than $330 million back into parents’ pockets since September 2018. www.gov.bc.ca/affordablechildcarebenefit
Taken together, the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative and Affordable Child Care Benefit are already making a significant difference for B.C. parents.
Since September 2018, more than 32,000 children have accessed child care for no more than $10-a-day through a combination of these initiatives and our $10-a-day prototype sites.
Universal Child Care Prototype Sites: Under the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, the B.C. government is investing $60 million to create Universal Child Care Prototype Sites throughout B.C. Launched in fall 2018, this project has converted approximately 2,500 child care spaces at more than 50 child care facilities around B.C. into low-cost spaces to model child care at a cost of $200 a month, or less, per child: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites
Childcare BC New Spaces Fund: Launched in July 2018, the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund helps improve access to child care throughout the province by supporting the creation of new licensed spaces over the next three years. www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
Start-Up Grants: In June 2018, the B.C. government launched the Start-Up Grant program, which supports individuals and unlicensed child care providers to become licensed. Applicants can apply for funding to help them cover the costs of becoming licensed, including training and application fees for licensing, hiring replacement staff while taking a course and buying equipment for a child care facility. Becoming licensed allows providers to care for more children and will help to enhance the quality of child care around British Columbia: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/startupgrants
Nearly 16,800 new licensed child care spaces have been approved for funding across Childcare BC’s space-creation initiatives, with thousands more to come.
Childcare BC Maintenance Fund: Introduced in June 2018, the Childcare BC Maintenance Fund helps eligible child care providers to maintain existing spaces by providing funding to help them with minor repairs or to replace equipment in order to meet licensing standards. The fund also helps cover relocation costs for eligible providers, so they can quickly move their operations if needed, and continue to support B.C. children and their families. In 2019-20 the ministry approved more than 800 applications for funding: www.gov.bc.ca/ccmaintenancefund
UBCM Partnerships: The Province is working with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) on two initiatives that support local government and municipalities to plan for and create new child care spaces and make effective use of publicly available assets and lands. The first partnership is the Community Child Care Space Creation Program, funded through a $13.7-million investment from the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with Government of Canada. This program provides up to $1 million for local governments that are working with partners to create new child care spaces in their community.
The second partnership, funded through a $3-million provincial investment, will deliver Community Child Care Planning Grants to help communities assess and plan for the creation of new child care spaces that meet the needs of local families. More than 70 communities throughout the province are receiving up to $25,000 to undertake this work over the coming months: www.ubcm.ca
A key goal under Childcare BC is to improve the quality of B.C.’s child care system through enhanced supports for early childhood educators (ECEs) and other child care professionals. Quality will be achieved by enhancing training and development opportunities, as well as addressing wages and recruitment in the sector.
Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy: Early childhood educators are an essential part of the Province’s goal to deliver quality child care to B.C. families. To this end, Childcare BC is delivering investments to better support ECEs over the first three years of its 10-year plan. On Sept. 5, 2018, the Province launched an Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy that lays out key aspects of the quality pillar of Childcare BC: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/ecestrategy
ECE Wage Enhancement: Since early 2019, ECEs working in licensed child care facilities have been eligible for a wage enhancement of $1 per hour, which increased to $2 per hour in April 2020. To date, the Province has invested more than $27 million to provide more than 12,000 early childhood educators with these wage enhancements.
ECE Education Support Fund: In September 2018, in partnership with the Early Childhood Educators of BC, the Province announced an enhanced bursary program for students enrolled in early childhood educational programs at approved post-secondary institutions in B.C. The Province has made significant investments to improve supports to B.C.’s early care and learning professionals, including investing approximately $16 million to provide more than 6,000 bursaries and workforce-development supports for students pursuing a career in child care: www.ecebc.ca/programs/student_bursary.html
Professional Development Funding: In March 2019, the Ministry of Children and Family Development announced a $6.3-million investment through ELCC to improve access to professional development opportunities for early care and learning professionals. Six organizations will use this funding to expand and improve the availability of courses and tools, provide bursaries to access programming and improve access for Indigenous child care professionals.
Early Childhood Pedagogy Network: In January 2020, the Ministry of Children and Family Development launched a new professional development program to improve access to training for ECEs and boost the quality of child care in B.C. Child care professionals now have access to more than 30 teaching specialists – known as pedagogists – at community hubs around the province, helping them to stay up to date with the latest child care teaching philosophies, curricula and techniques.
Post-secondary seat expansion: In order to increase training and development opportunities for ECEs throughout the province, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training is investing $7.4 million over three years to fund an additional 620 early childhood educator graduates at B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions.
Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement
Investments under Childcare BC are complemented by the B.C. government’s three-year, $153-million ELCC agreement with the Government of Canada, which was signed in February 2018. The following outlines ELCC investments in addition to the $16.3 million for quality child care, the $60 million for Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, and the $13.7 million for new spaces through UBCM.
Aboriginal Head Start: The B.C. government is investing $30 million to expand Aboriginal Head Start programs around the province, with over 30 communities benefiting from more than 600 new licensed child care and early learning spaces. These programs provide culturally based, inclusive child care and early learning, family bonding and prevention services, with services available to families at no cost.
Aboriginal Head Start on Reserve: www.fnha.ca/what-we-do/maternal-child-and-family-health/aboriginal-head-start-on-reserve
Aboriginal Head Start in urban communities: www.ahsabc.com
Young Parent Program: In May 2018, the B.C. government announced an additional $3 million over the next three years – on top of its annual funding of $1.6 million – to boost the monthly funding amount available to eligible young parents to up to $1,500 a month per child. The increase in funding is helping to serve the child care needs of approximately 220 young-parent families per year: https://news.gov.bc.ca/17176
Supported Child Development: Under ELCC, the Province is investing $30 million over three years to make child care more inclusive. This funding will mean that 1,000 more children have access to Supported Child Development and Aboriginal Supported Child Development programming: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18343