Saturday February 10, 2024 | COLWOOD, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
More affordable child care spaces were announced this week by Minister of State for Child Care, Mitzi Dean.
More families in British Columbia will save thousands of dollars every year as more than 700 child care spaces move into the $10 a Day ChildCareBC program.
The additional spaces will help reduce costs for families and further develop access to high-quality, affordable child care as a core service.
Families get support as high inflation continues:
“For too long families have struggled to keep up with the high cost of child care,” said Premier David Eby who is also MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey. “As we’ve seen the cost of everything increase due to global inflation, this addition of more $10-a-day spaces will give families the kind of break they need, when they need it most.”
“Finding child care and paying for it is one of the biggest challenges families face,” said Dean in a press conference held at a child care centre at the University of British Columbia campus on February 9. “It’s really tough times for families out there, just to afford the basics,” she articulated.
The newly approved $10-a-day spaces are offered at 25 child care centres throughout B.C., including Houston, Squamish, Surrey and Vancouver.
Priority for communities without $10-a-day access:
For this intake, government’s focus was to prioritize new $10-a-day facilities in communities that do not yet have access to the $10 a Day ChildCareBC program or have a low number of $10-a-day spaces compared to the region’s population density.
Saving families about $900 per month:
Spaces in the $10 a Day ChildCareBC program reduce the average cost of child care from $1,120 a month for full-time, centre-based infant care to $200 a month for the same service, saving families an average of approximately $920 a month per child.
“Hundreds of additional families throughout B.C. will be breathing a sigh of relief as their child care bills are cut by more than $10,000 on average per child, per year,” said Mitzi Dean, B.C. Minister of State for Child Care. “The ChildCareBC fee reductions and $10-a-day program are important ways we are making life more affordable for British Columbians, which benefits families, our communities and the economy as a whole.”
Families making less than $45,000 per year may receive the maximum Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB) and pay nothing out of pocket for child care.
More spaces will be converted:
More spaces will be converted to the program over the next few weeks bringing B.C. closer to the goal of 15,000 $10 a Day ChildCareBC spaces by spring 2024.
Since 2018, the Province has invested $3.9 billion in the 10-year ChildCareBC plan to build a future where affordable, inclusive and quality child care is a core service that families can rely on.
Provincial investments are supporting school-aged fee reductions, which were introduced on Sept. 1, 2023.
“Across the country, demand is high for affordable regulated child care spaces,” said Jenna Sudds, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “Today’s announcement is great news for families in B.C. and will help more families save hundreds of dollars each month. We look forward to continuing to work with the Province to make our common vision for a high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive Canada-wide early learning and child care system a reality.”
Joining Dean at the February 9 announcement was Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, who said in a statement: “Throughout British Columbia, more families will now have access to high-quality, affordable and inclusive child care. By reducing child care costs through the $10-a-day program, we’re also helping parents and kids have more choices – like participating in recreational activities and sport and saving for the future. As a parent, I’m proud to see British Columbia leading the way to give families and children the best possible start in life.”
Fee reductions were introduced in 2018 through the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative and were further enhanced on Dec. 1, 2022, with federal funding support under the Canada-British Columbia Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
The $10-a-day program expansion represents further progress in partnership with the federal government under the Canada-British Columbia Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement to support the goal of ensuring families can access high-quality, affordable and inclusive early learning and child care.
“Throughout my 15-year career as an early childhood educator (ECE) at UBC, I have always been a strong advocate for the $10-a-day plan,” said Lauren McCaughey, parent and ECE at UBC Child Care. “Over the years, my three children have attended UBC child care programs and having Salal daycare enter the $10-a-day program makes it easier for our family to budget monthly for the higher cost of groceries and other rising costs. We will also be able to begin saving more for our children’s futures as they grow and learn.”
In addition to the $10-a-day spaces, provincial and federal investments are helping approximately 128,000 families with the cost of child care at centres that are not part of the $10 a Day ChildCareBC program through child care fee reductions of up to $900 per month per child. When combined with the Affordable Child Care Benefit, many families are paying $10 a day or less for child care, including those not participating in the $10 a Day program.
Affordable Child Care Benefit Program:
- The Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB) is an income-tested provincial program providing up to $1,250 per month, per child, to help eligible low- and middle-income families with their child care costs. Families making less than $45,000 per year may receive the maximum ACCB and pay nothing out of pocket for child care. Families making as much as $111,000 per year may be eligible to receive additional child care support through ACCB.
- An average of 35,000 children received support through the Province’s ACCB each month so far in 2023-24.
The Dean shift:
Mitzi Dean is now in the public eye as Minister of State for Child Care, after being shifted from the role of Minister of Children and Family Development (MCFD) last month.
While politically-speaking the shift out of a ministerial position might be seen as a demotion, the focussed attention that Dean can now give to child care will probably be a benefit to BC families with a skilled administrative politician at the helm.
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- Dean & Lore leading for children & families (January 15, 2024)
- Mitzi Dean was engaged across communities in 2023 (December 29, 2023)
- Child care educators get wage boost & bonuses (October 30, 2023)
- More BC families benefit from $10-a-day child care (January 3, 2023)
- New child care savings for BC families (September 23, 2022)