Continued investments under the B.C. Early Years Strategy, along with the addition of $20 million in Budget 2017, are enabling the Province to fund more than 5,000 new child-care and after-school program spaces, as well as early childhood educator (ECE) bursaries in 2017-18.
Based on feedback from the child-care community, the ministry is launching a new two-stage application process to support the creation of up to 4,100 licensed child-care spaces. The initial application has been simplified. More detailed information will only be required from those who are invited to the second stage. Details on program information sessions, applications and criteria will be available online on March 15, 2017, when the call opens, at: www.gov.bc.ca/childcaremajorcapitalfunding.
Non-profit child-care providers can apply for up to $500,000, and private child-care providers can apply for up to $250,000 to help build new child-care spaces in their communities. Priority for these new spaces will be given to organizations that will:
- Create spaces for infants and toddlers, the type of spaces for which there is highest demand throughout the province.
- Create spaces on school grounds, where children can smoothly transition from early years programs, to the classroom, to after-school care.
- Create spaces that are co-located with other family-support programs in community-based settings, including BC Early Years Centres, recreation centres and family-resource programs.
This year, priority funding criteria has also been extended to applications for spaces that:
- Create child-care spaces in Indigenous communities. (New)
- Create spaces in the work place, where employers can support their employees by providing child-care resources on-site. (New)
- Create child-care spaces in child development centres that support children with special needs. (New)
The process for the 1,000 before- and after-school recreation spaces will be opened separately. Details will be available shortly.
With the commitment to create new child-care spaces comes the need for more ECEs. To meet this need, the Province has extended its partnership with the Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC) to expand the Early Childhood Education Bursary. In partnership with the New Relationship Trust Foundation (NRTF), an Indigenous Early Years Bursary program will also be created. More information on when and how to apply will be available at a future date.
Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux –
“We know that parents in some B.C. communities are having a hard time finding care for their children, and we’re committed to funding high-quality child care throughout the province. This funding will allow us to support the creation of nearly as many child-care spaces in one year as we have over the past three years combined.
“As we increase the number of child-care spaces in B.C., we need to ensure there are enough qualified Early Childhood Educators to work in these facilities. That’s why we’re investing in the ECE Bursary to help encourage new ECEs and increase the number of qualified staff who can work in the sector.”
Wayne Robertson, chair, Provincial Child Care Council –
“After the last funding intake, the ministry undertook a public consultation to see how to improve the application process. The Province has listened to stakeholders and worked with us to create a new two-stage process that will mean less of a time commitment for our providers, whose hands are already full, day-to-day, with caring for the children of British Columbia.”
Gerard Bremault, CEO, The Centre for Child Development –
“Thanks to funding from the Child Care Major Capital Funding Program, The Centre for Child Development was able to open 37 new child-care spaces in December 2015 – and now other child development centres will have the opportunity for funding, too. Finding affordable, quality care for children can be a challenge for any family, but can be especially difficult and emotional for families with children with special needs. Our families know their children are being cared for in a safe and inclusive environment where their children are understood and celebrated for who they are. Our trained Early Childhood Educators give every child the attention they need to thrive.”
- The Province will invest $352.5 million in child care in 2017-18, a 7.5% increase over 2016-17, and a 67.2% increase over 2000-01. This includes major capital funding for new child-care spaces, as well as operating funding and child care subsidy payments.
- Since 2014, the Province has invested roughly $26.5 million to support the creation of more than 4,300 new licensed child-care spaces in B.C.
- These new spaces continue to build on the more than 113,000 licensed child-care spaces currently funded throughout the province.
- While fees for individual child-care facilities are set by their operators, government provides operating funding to facilities to help cut down on the costs passed on to parents.
- Child-care subsidies help low-income families with the cost of child care, supporting about 20,000 children and their families each month.
- To help with the costs of raising a young child, the Province introduced the new B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit in April 2015. The benefit provides $145 million annually to approximately 180,000 families with children under the age of six (up to $55 a month per child).
For more information on the Child Care Major Capital funding program, including applications and criteria, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcaremajorcapitalfunding
To learn more about child care in B.C., visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
For more information about the Early Childhood Educators Bursary, visit: www.ecebc.ca/programs/student_bursary.html
For more information about New Relationship Trust Foundation Bursary, visit: www.nrtf.ca/funding