Child-care fees dropping for BC kids of kindergarten age and younger, ministry announces

BC has announced cuts to monthly child-care fees for families with children who are kindergarten age or younger.

The Ministry of Education and Child Care said Friday the fee reduction will save families up to $550 per child, per month, depending on whether their child is in group care or family-based care.

The reductions take effect Dec. 1 and will affect families of roughly 69,000 children across the province, the ministry said.

Child-care providers running more than 96 per cent of eligible spaces have already signed up to participate in the provincial program, meaning families don’t need to apply for the new savings — the reduction should be automatically reflected on their monthly bill come December.

Eligibility for the new cuts is not income based. The ministry said “kindergarten age” means children who are five or six years old.

Lower- and middle-income families are still eligible for income-based support for children up to age 12 through the Affordable Child Care Benefit launched in 2018, the ministry noted.

Minister Jennifer Whiteside said the savings for families are on top of earlier reductions of $350 per month for children under three years old in group care — meaning their fees will be cut by a total of up to $900 a month.

At a news conference Friday, Whiteside said the fee reductions will bring the average daily cost of child care in the province to $21 by the end of the year, down from the average of $53 before the government’s child-care initiatives began in 2018.

Whiteside added the government’s election promise of $10-a-day child care is underway and will result in the creation of 12,500 more spaces for children by Dec. 31.

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