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.
That investment continues through Budget 2019, with $1.3 billion going toward the child care plan over the next 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. As of July 2019, more than 54,500 child care spaces are approved for a reduction, with parents saving almost $125 million since the program was 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 2019, more than 37,000 families are receiving some level of support through the benefit, helping to put more than $135 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 17,500 children have accessed child care for no more than $10 a day at a facility, thanks to savings through these initiatives – and that does not include approximately 2,900 who are receiving care in $10-a-day prototype sites, which brings the total up to more than 20,600 children. This includes almost 8,300 children whose parents have paid nothing at all for child care.
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 53 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 22,000 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
More than 9,000 new licensed child care spaces have already been approved for funding across Childcare BC’s space creation initiatives.
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 2018-19, the ministry approved more than 700 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 will provide up to $1 million for local governments who 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 the issue of 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 essential 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: Starting in early 2019, ECEs working in licensed child care facilities are eligible for a wage enhancement of $1 per hour. This will be followed by another $1-per-hour increase in April 2020. To date, the ministry has provided approximately $10.8 million to help child care providers deliver a wage lift to more than 9,800 ECEs.
ECE Education Support Fund: The Ministry of Children and Family Development, in partnership with Early Childhood Educators of BC, provides a bursary of up to $4,000 for students who are enrolled in early childhood educational programs at one of 32 approved post-secondary institutions in B.C. The Early Care and Learning Strategy includes a $11.9-million expansion of this bursary, with support from ELCC. The fall 2018 semester saw ECEBC providing approximately $2 million to support just under 1,100 applicants: 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.
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