The B.C. government is moving forward with 53 prototype projects around the province to deliver child care that will cost families a maximum of $200 per month per child.
The prototype sites are the next major step in government’s 10-year ChildCare BC plan and will model what high-quality, affordable, universal child care may look like for B.C. families. The prototypes are being funded through an investment of $60 million under the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement with the Government of Canada. In all, parents of about 2,500 children will benefit from the prototype projects.
“The Government of Canada believes that early learning and child care services should be affordable for all families,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. “Today’s announcement is a big step towards ensuring that children get the best start in life and in delivering better high-quality and affordable child care for families across British Columbia.”
The Province selected the sites after a call for applications in June 2018. While priority was given to sites that had infant and toddler spaces, the Province has expanded eligibility to include other types of licensed child care.
“We are finding new ways to make it easier for families to get by every month and to save for the future,” said Premier John Horgan. “Through this kind of action, where we significantly reduce the cost of child care, we can make life more affordable for so many B.C. families.”
“Government and the B.C. Green caucus are working collaboratively to build quality, universal early childhood education in B.C.,” said Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green Party MLA for Cowichan Valley. “I am hopeful these prototype sites will have a significant impact on many families and will help us learn how to expand efforts to build a universally affordable system in B.C.”
Under the initiative, child care providers at the new prototype sites will receive government funding to cover their operational and administration costs. In return, they will reduce parent fees to a maximum of $200 per month for full-time enrolment during regular hours and will share their feedback with the B.C. government to help inform the future implementation of universal care.
“This project takes a major step towards universal child care in British Columbia. The demand for this program was so strong that we expanded it to cover more children and more sites in every region of the province in the prototype stage,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C.'s Minister of Children and Family Development. “We want to make life more affordable for families, and this investment will demonstrate the low-cost, high-quality care B.C. parents can look forward to as we fully implement ChildCare BC.”
As well, each site will receive a one-time quality improvement grant in 2019 to help enhance the quality of the programs it delivers. The amount of the quality improvement grant for each site will be determined as part of the Province’s evaluations of the sites’ programs and improvement plans.
“Prototype sites give us a glimpse of what the future of universal child care in B.C. can be, and are critical as we design and refine our program moving forward,” said Katrina Chen, B.C.'s Minister of State for Child Care. “They build on the work we’ve already done to bring affordability relief to thousands of families through universal fee reductions and the Affordable Child Care Benefit.”
Parents who are not accessing these low-cost spaces may still be eligible for support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which provides up to $1,250 per child a month for families with an annual income of $111,000 or less. Families using licensed child care may also see savings through the Child Care Fee Reduction, which has so far helped to reduce the cost of almost 52,000 child care spaces throughout the province.
Mika Taiji, mother of five and parent at Frog Hollow Satellite Daycare –
“We have just had twins. We were unsure if we could keep our children in daycare. This change will allow us to have all of our kids in daycare and allow me to return to work.”
Erin Frizzell, parent at Frog Hollow Satellite Daycare –
“My husband and I both work in the arts and cultural sector and it is a struggle to survive with housing expenses, not to mention daycare. This opportunity to have to only pay an affordable fee for daycare means we can actually put money into education and other areas that will contribute to the health and wellness of our child’s life, now and in the future. It is life changing.”
Gary Dobbin, executive director of Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House –
“Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House applied to be a prototype site because we know that there are parents at our daycare who struggle to make ends meet, while having to pay expensive child care fees. Also, we wanted to be able to play a leadership role in providing feedback to government about how the initiative is working, what could improve it and the impact it is having on families.”
- The prototype sites will operate until March 31, 2020.
- Forty-three child care sites in B.C. started operating on Nov. 1, 2018, with a further 10 slated to start on Dec. 1, 2018.
- The Province initially planned to convert 1,800 licensed child care spaces into low-cost prototype spaces. More than 300 B.C. child care operators applied to participate in the universal prototype initiative. Initial plans only included converting infant/toddler spaces. However, in order to get a strong sense of what will be needed to expand universal child care in the future, the B.C. government worked with the federal government to expand the selection criteria to include sites representing all age groups and licensed child care types. The expansion of selection criteria and strong response from providers has allowed government to convert 37% more spaces than its original target.
- Prototype sites exist in urban and rural communities around the province and include a range of operational models, from group child care, to family child care, to private and non-profit organizations.
To learn more about child care in B.C., visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
For more information about the ChildCare BC prototypes, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites
To learn more about the Affordable Child Care Benefit, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/affordablechildcarebenefit
For more information about the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/optin
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
To view the two backgrounders to this release, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_CC_PT1.pdf