UPDATED: B.C. parents to save up to $350 a month on child care in April

Savings only apply to children in licensed child care programs

Premier John Horgan says he won’t apologize for his government’s recent efforts towards universal child care, despite some daycare operators criticizing the government rolling out reduced fees for parents.

Parents with children in licensed child care programs will be saving up to $350 a month beginning April 1, Horgan told reporters at a daycare at Douglas College Wednesday morning.

“Parents in every corner of B.C. will start seeing their child care bills go down next month,” he said, as children played behind him, Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy, and Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen.

Finance minister Carol James had initially outlined the savings during her February budget speech, but criticism of the plan has followed.

“These fee reductions will offer families relief, and help people, particularly women, return to work. No one should be forced to choose between child care and other family needs.”

The savings break down as follows:

  • $350 per month for each child in group infant and toddler care
  • $200 per month for each child in family infant and toddler care
  • $100 per month for each child in group care for children aged three years to kindergarten
  • $60 per month for each child in family care for children aged three years to kindergarten

The fee reduction is for families with kids up to kindergarten age whose licensed child care providers opt in.

Providers who opt in, now by an extended date of April 20, will get a 10 per cent increase to their individual base funding to support operational expenses.

Daycare providers call out ‘lack of transparency’ on program roll out

The province says that 18,000 child care providers have already opted into the new program, but not all are on board with the government’s route to universal child care or how the changes were rolled out.

“It feels like we are being pitted against our daycare families,” Suzie Logan said.

Logan, who owns a daycare in Coquitlam, said in recent weeks as many as 400 operators in the province have come together for online meetings to discuss their concerns with the NDP government’s policy. And many of them are weary of opting in to a program that was only brought to their attention two weeks ago.

“I would love nothing more than to drop fees for my daycare famillies, but I can’t with no transparency,” she said.

Logan charges roughly $1,250 a month per child in her toddler program, which includes all organic vegetarian snacks, milk, bottles, wipes and 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. care.

Metro Vancouver daycare operators Nasim Khatibi (left) and Suzie Logan (right) told reporters Wednesday they aren’t interested in opting into the government’s plan for child care fee relief. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press)


For those providers who do opt in, future fee increases have to be approved by the province, Logan said. Staff wages are also a concern.

“Historically, my centre has done increases every two years by no more than four per cent, with six months notice given to families,” she said, while “bigger box daycare chains” increase fees at higher margins and more frequently.

“How is this advantageous for me, who’s been fair to parents and operating ethically for years and years – how is this fair for us? It just doesn’t seem fair for us.”

Nasim Khatibi, a fellow daycare operator of Rocky Point Montessori in Port Moody said the government’s move towards universal child care in three to five years puts all smaller operators at risk of having to shut their doors.

“We’ve given up maternity leave… pension, just to work hard so we have this at the end of the road for our retirement,” she said. “What’s going to happen to us when universal daycares roll in next door to us? How is the government going to support us small businesses? We want answers.”

Both child care operators met with Chen and Conroy following the press conference, and said the ministers will be working with them in weeks ahead.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmore Junction

LETTERS: In support of student climate strikers

From readers Tia Leschke and Sharon Inkpen

Kootenay Musical Theatre Society ready to make a deal with the Devil

The new group will put on an original show in October at the Capitol Theatre

Society plans restoration of historic Kootenay Lake fishing boat

The Merriwake had been submerged in Kootenay Lake near Kaslo before being salvaged two years ago

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Most Read