Excerpted from press release
Budget 2022 is making life better for families through investments in child care that will improve access to child care, reduce costs for parents and build the spaces families need.
“Since the release of ChildCareBC in 2018, we’ve been working hard to turn the corner and reverse the damage done from treating child care as a luxury rather than a necessity that every family needs,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Families across the province are already saving hundreds of dollars a month because we’re funding child care centres to reduce their fees, and we’re broadening and deepening those savings as part of Budget 2022.”
Budget 2022 builds on ChildCareBC investments made since 2018. Through a combination of provincial and federal funding, B.C. families will benefit from the creation of 30,000 new spaces for children under age six by March 2026, and a total of 40,000 spaces by March 2028.
Budget 2022 builds on existing provincial funding that helps tens of thousands of families continue paying less for child care – saving up to $1,600 a month, per child, through provincial investments, such as the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI) and Affordable Child Care Benefit. Already, 96% of eligible licensed child care providers have enrolled in the reduction initiative, saving families up to $350 per month, per child. More savings are on the way. Together with federal investments, average child care fees will be cut by approximately 50% from 2019 levels for families with children ages five and under by the end of 2022.
These combined provincial and federal supports mean parents will pay an average of $20 a day for children ages five and under in full-time child care by the end of the year. Similarly, families with children in preschool programs and before- and after-school care will see reduced fees to an average of $20 per day by September 2023. This is an important step on the path to providing $10 a Day child care for B.C. families.
“Affordable child care is key to affordable living,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “We’re working hard to transform child care into a core service that families can depend on – like health care or school – recognizing that without this support, many parents, especially mothers, can’t afford to work, build their careers and help their families get ahead.”
Responsibility for child care is moving to the Ministry of Education in April 2022. This change, along with new investments in child care and early learning on school grounds in this year’s budget, is laying the ground work to accelerate access to convenient, affordable and quality child care that better meets families’ needs, while easing children’s transition to school.
“Parents know that when their child turns five, they can access safe, high-quality kindergarten,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “We’re working hard to bring that same kind of access and dependability to child care, because the early years are critical to a child’s learning journey, and access to quality child care makes a big difference.”
Recognizing that a professional, qualified and well-supported workforce is foundational to delivering quality child care, Budget 2022 also provides measures to recruit and retain early childhood educators (ECE). This includes expanding the $4-an-hour wage enhancement to all ECEs directly employed by child care facilities, not just front-line ECEs, including Supported Child Development and Aboriginal Supported Child Development professionals and administrative ECEs in child care programs.
Keosha Girard, parent of a child in Comox –
“Every child has a right to quality care and every parent deserves a space that is financially affordable. From personal experience, the CCFRI funding and $10 a Day ChildCareBC space have changed my life and made it possible for me to focus finances on other day-to-day living costs.”
Carly Nichol, parent, Columbia Elementary school, Penticton –
“We were so excited to have a program open in the school our son would be attending for kindergarten. During our time in the Just B4 program, we have seen so much attention, love and care given to our son by the spectacular teachers. The recognition by staff of the specific needs of our child, plus being given tools to use in our daily lives, are more than we ever could have asked for. We have loved getting to meet other families and children that our child will be heading into kindergarten with. It has been a fantastic introduction to our school community.”