The holiday season can be an expensive time for B.C. families. The financial strain, when combined with the high cost of rent and child care, can result in added stress for parents.

However, relief is available to thousands of B.C. parents through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which the Province introduced in September 2018. The benefit, which is available to families with a yearly pre-tax household income of up to $111,000, can save families up to $15,000 a year, per child, on the cost of child care.

“The Affordable Child Care Benefit has been a huge help for my family. Before the benefit, I faced a dilemma on whether to work, with the cost of rent and my child care fees the second-highest in Vancouver,” said Jamie Youn. “Before, I paid over $1,000 for child care even with the help of subsidy, but now I pay under $200 a month. I feel like government is investing in my child’s future and I am so happy that I can work for my family.”

The 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, the benefit means some lower-income B.C. families may end up paying no fees for the child care they need.

“We encourage parents to check the benefit website and use the online estimator to see what they could save,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Thousands of parents have signed up so far and more are eligible. We want parents to benefit from child care savings this holiday season and beyond.”

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.

“We know that more than 80,000 B.C. families are now eligible for savings through the benefit and we’re working hard to make sure that parents know about it, so they can apply and pay less for child care,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “The benefit can also be combined with the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative to save parents even more money.”

The Province is investing more than $1 billion in child care over three years to lay the foundation for a universal child care system that will give B.C. parents access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it. To date, more than 31,000 children throughout the province have been approved for the Affordable Child Care Benefit.

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