In February 2018, the British Columbia government announced a three-year $1-billion investment through the Childcare BC plan, the most significant child care investment in B.C. history.
Childcare BC has three key pillars: quality, affordability and accessibility: 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, more than 52,000 spaces are eligible for a reduction in fees, and the initiative has put nearly $52 million back in parents’ pockets. Providers who have been approved for the initiative are listed online: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/optin
Affordable Child Care Benefit:
In September 2018, the Affordable Child Care Benefit replaced the existing Child Care Subsidy. Under the new benefit, eligible parents can save up to $1,250 a month per child. Families earning up to $111,000 (up from $55,000 under the subsidy) may be eligible for savings, and the benefit will support around 80,000 B.C. families (up from 20,000 under the subsidy): www.gov.bc.ca/affordablechildcarebenefit
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
Childcare BC Maintenance Fund:
Introduced in June 2018, the Childcare BC Maintenance Fund helps eligible child care providers maintain existing spaces by providing funding to help 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: www.gov.bc.ca/ccmaintenancefund
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 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 enhance the quality of child care throughout B.C.: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/startupgrants
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, which provides up to $1 million for local governments who are working with partners to create new child care spaces in their community. The second partnership delivers Community Child Care Planning Grants, which help communities assess and plan for the creation of new child care spaces that meet the needs of local families: 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 $136 million 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 January 2019, ECEs working in licensed child care facilities that have opted in to the Child Care Fee Reduction will receive a wage enhancement of $1 per hour, followed by another $1-per-hour increase in April 2020.
ECE Education Support Fund:
The Ministry of Children and Family Development, in partnership with Early Childhood Educators of BC, provides a bursary 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 $10-million expansion of this bursary, with support from the Government of Canada under the federal-provincial Early Learning and Child Care agreement: www.ecebc.ca/programs/student_bursary.html
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 the next three years to fund an additional 620 early childhood educator seats at B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions.
Early Learning and Child Care Agreement
Investments under Childcare BC are complemented by the B.C. government’s three-year, $153-million Early Learning and Child Care Agreement (ELCC) 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, as outlined above.
Universal Child Care Prototype Sites:
Under ELCC, the B.C. government is investing $60 million to create Universal Child Care Prototype Sites throughout B.C. Launched in fall 2018, this project is converting approximately 2,500 child care spaces at more than 50 child care facilities throughout B.C. into low-cost spaces that will model child care at a cost of $200 a month, or less, per child: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites
Aboriginal Head Start:
The B.C. government is investing $30 million to expand Aboriginal Head Start programs around the province. These programs provide culturally based, inclusive child care and early learning, family bonding and prevention services.
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 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