Tuesday, May 21, 2024

BC parents can calculate how much they’ll save on child care with this online tool


BC’s newest cuts to child care fees come into effect on December 1st.

With this date approaching, BC has developed an online tool to assist parents in estimating the amount of money they will save with the new cuts. 

Parents across BC will soon save up to $550 more per month per child they have in certain licensed child care facilities.

The province says this new funding will lower fees for children who are in kindergarten or younger by up to $900 per month.

The estimator tool

To use the estimator, parents simply have to enter the child care provider their kids attend, enter some information about their children (age group, full-time or part-time care, etc.) and their parent fee. 

The estimator will then give an estimate of the savings a parent can expect from their provider. 


BC parents could save up to $550 per child starting in December

How the savings will work is the province will directly fund the participating child care providers, who will in turn discount the amount charged to families whose children they care for. 

The eligibility criteria, as laid out by the province:

  • $900/month for Group infant/toddler care (Under 36 Months)
  • $600/month for Family infant/toddler care (Under 36 Months)
  • $545/month for Group care for children aged 3 Years to Kindergarten (before school entry)
  • $500/month for Family care for children aged 3 Years to Kindergarten (before school entry)
  • $320/month for Group care for Kindergarten children
  • $320/month for Family care for Kindergarten children.

On top of this criteria, the child care facility must also belong to an organization that has an approved 2022-23 Child Care Operating Funding (CCOF) agreement in place. 

Victoria Buzz spoke with Centennial Day Care Society, which is a small child care operation in Greater Victoria. They offer child care for a small number for kids aged 3 to 5-years-old with two spaces for children under 3-years-old. 

“The estimator was put in place for both care centres and families to have an estimation of fees coming up or how fees will be changing,” said Alexandra Maurice, Executive Director of Centennial Day Care Society.

Centennial Day Care Society is a non-profit child care organization that will be lowering its fees beginning on December 1st, as many others are. 

“For the most part, [the province’s estimator tool] is extremely accurate,” Maurice told Victoria Buzz. 

Maurice said that the only reason the word estimation was used for this now provincial tool is because some parents don’t fully understand what their fees entail.

“Sometimes the fees are not simply laid out for parents and they don’t actually know exactly what it is that they’re paying.” 

Challenges the child care industry faces

Maurice told Victoria Buzz that another huge hurdle when it comes to child care is there aren’t enough open spaces to go around.

“We have around 82 families on our waitlist,” Maurice said. “I could not imagine how many people they have on their waitlist because [Centennial Day Care Society] is kind of incognito in comparison, people don’t really know us as much as some of the big child care centres.”

Another huge challenge Maurice says the industry is dealing with is the lack of trained professionals to provide care for the children.

“It’s a really demanding career, this field is very exhausting,” Maurice said to Victoria Buzz.

“There’s just not enough people coming into the field and those that were here already are leaving the field, especially after the pandemic.”

“The children that we’re getting now are much more challenging compared to the children that we had four years ago. There’s a lot more children that are neurodiverse or need additional support.” 

These savings the province plans on passing on to parents is part of their $2.7 million commitment to ChildCareBC that began in 2018 and their $3.2 billion investment in the Canada-British Columbia Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement 2021 to 2026.

$10 a day initiative

On top of these child care initiatives the province has taken on, they also have moved approximately 8,200 child care spaces to their $10 a Day ChildCareBC program which began in November of 2022.

Maurice told Victoria buzz that the application process to become a $10 a day child care centre has been available for some time but the way the centres are chosen to become one of them is randomized.

“The government is obviously trying to make child care more affordable so we have this new $10 a day initiative,” said Maurice.

“Everybody just goes into this pool, hundreds and hundreds of centres that want to become a $10 a day centre. Then they’re selected at random.”

She believes this funding becoming available is meant to close the gap between what parents had to pay before and get them to the $10 a day program state.

“The goal for BC is that everyone be at $10 a day,” Maurice told Victoria Buzz.

BC claims that they plan to have the number of $10 a Day spaces reach 20,000 soon.

“I think it’s really incredible that [the province] is doing this and seeing how important child care is,” said Maurice.

“It really is an essential service, it is a challenging job, and essentially, child care can be seen as the backbone of the working force.”

Curtis Blandy

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