Premier John Horgan has said that Parents throughout this province have been struggling with rising child care costs, and it’s clear that we need to make child care more affordable for more middle-income families .Our hope is that this makes a big difference for families, and that they can get a little further ahead every month. When more parents can choose to rejoin the workforce if they want to, that’s good for people and the economy.
In making the announcement, Premier Horgan said the new benefit program will expand the household income threshold for qualification to $111,000, up from $55,000 under the old subsidy.
The new Affordable Child Care Benefit is part of government’s ChildCare BC plan, released in Budget 2018. Combined with the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative announced earlier this year, this benefit means some B.C. families may end up paying no fees for the child care they need.
“The new, expanded benefit will give parents more options – whether they choose to join or return to the workforce, find quality child care or just have a bit more breathing room in their monthly budgets,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Parents have been clear that this benefit – either alone or in combination with this spring’s fee reduction initiative – will make life better for their families.”
Over 80,000 B.C. families are now eligible for some level of support through the benefit. Under the previous subsidy, only 20,000 families were eligible. The benefit amount for infant/toddler care has also been increased, with some families now eligible for up to $1,250 a month per child, up from $750 per child, marking a 67% increase.
“Child care was neglected for too long in this province, leaving families worried and scrambling. We’re listening to what families need and our priority is affordable, accessible and quality child care for people around the province,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State of Child Care. “We’ve made a lot of changes since announcing our $1-billion ChildCare BC plan in February, and there’s more to come.”
Parents can apply now for the new benefit through My Family Services, a new online process that makes it faster and easier to apply for support. Parents can also use an online estimator to see if they are eligible for the benefit and how much they may be able to save each month.
The Affordable Child Care Benefit is the second affordability measure to be launched under ChildCare BC. The first, the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, was launched in April 2018 and is helping licensed child care providers reduce their fees by up to $350. As of Aug. 24, nearly 3,000 providers have so far been approved for fee reductions, representing more than 50,000 spaces.
Under ChildCare BC, the Province is investing more than $1 billion in child care over the next three years, to lay the foundation for a universal child care system.
In the coming weeks, the B.C. government will announce the child care facilities that have been selected as prototype sites to offer child care at $10 a day or less.