Statement re: 2022 Child Care Fee Reductions

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Originally posted by Bowinn Ma to Facebook on March 17, 2022 at 4:49pm.

Dear Community Member,

I have been receiving many emails from families on the North Shore with questions about how the BC Government will be achieving its promised child care fee reductions this year. There seems to be some confusion out there, so wanted to lay things out a bit to help families better understand what’s ahead.

As part of our efforts to build out a universal child care program for the province, we have implemented three different affordability programs since our government formed back in 2017:
  1. Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI)
    This is the program that has reduced fees by up to $350 per child per month and is a program that is opted into by child care providers. 96% of all child care providers are enrolled in this program and you can search our database here to determine what facilities are enrolled.
  2. Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB)
    This is an income-tested program that parents apply to. Families with household incomes of $111,000/year or less are eligible for this program and fees are reduced by up to $1250 per child per month. You can apply here.
  3. $10aDay ChildCareBC Centres
    This program converts an entire centre into one in which every spot is $10/day at most, regardless of your income or family composition. We started with 2500 pilot seats back in 2018 and are rapidly accelerating this program this year to a total of 12,500 seats by the end of the year. Priority is given to child care centres in public facilities (ie. municipal community centres and school grounds), non-profit/public organizations, Indigenous-led facilities, and home-based child care in locations where $10aDay ChildCareBC Centres are not available. However, all licensed child care facilities are eligible to apply.
These three programs are stackable, so you don’t have to choose one or the other – they can all work together. Because they are stackable, it means that there are already tens of thousands of families who are accessing child care for $10/day or less without actually being enrolled in a $10aDay ChildCareBC Centre – mostly families of lower income, for now.

With the help of a partnership with the federal government, we have allotted the funding in our budget to reduce child care fees to about half of what they were in 2019 by the end of 2022 (for kids 0-5) and Sept 2023 (for school-aged kids). This works out to be about $20/day as a provincial average (thus the use of the number), but realistically there will likely be some variation across the province. To do this, I expect some or all of the three programs above will likely be expanded. The details of exactly how these changes will come to pass will be released later this year.

Keep in mind that our goal is still to reach $10/day or less for everyone – the reductions that will happen this year are a part of our progress towards that. We are also continuing our work to expand access by building more spaces (we’ve funded over 26,000 new spaces since 2017, including over 1000 here on the North Shore) and providing bursaries and wage supplements to help this sector train and retain more ECE workers. Hope this information helps!

Bowinn Ma, MLA