Parents to save up to $550 a month on child care fees starting Dec. 1

The federal and provincial money means a family with a toddler and a three-year-old in group care could save up to an additional $11,940 per year.

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Parents struggling with crippling daycare fees finally have reason to celebrate. They will soon be saving up to $550 a month after the province and federal government announced details of their affordable child care plan on Friday.

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“To all parents, as a mother, I want to say that we feel you,” British Columbia Secretary of State for Child Care Katrina Chen said during a press conference at Cascade Heights YMCA Child Care in Burnaby. “For the parents who are struggling with childcare, we feel you. We understand that childcare is critical to our economy, to our young children and to the well-being of families.”

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Friday’s long-awaited announcement comes as a result of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2021 budget pledge of $30 billion over five years to nationalize childcare and bring all places to $10 a day by 2026.

BC was one of the first provinces to enter into a child care contract with the federal government in July 2021, agreeing to spend a total of $3.2 billion on child care in the province over five years.

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How much parents save depends on the type of daycare and the age of their child. Parents whose children attend licensed group daycares save $550 per month on childcare for infants under three, $445 per month for children ages three to five, and $220 per month on after-school care for children in kindergarten.

Parents in home daycares save $400 a month on infant and toddler care, $440 a month for children ages three to five, and $260 a month on after-school care for preschoolers.

That means, for example, a family with a 10-month-old and a 3-year-old in group care could save up to an additional $11,940 per year.

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The savings, effective December 1, come on top of the province’s fee reduction initiative, which already reduces licensed group daycare fees by $350 per month for infant/toddler care and $100 per month for children ages three to five .

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That translates into a total savings of $900 per month for parents whose children attend the most expensive types of child care. About 69,000 children are to receive the contribution reduction.

Parents do not have to apply for the non-income-related support. It will be automatically applied to daycare centers already participating in the fee-cutting initiative, which accounts for 96 percent of childcare slots, according to the province.

Karina Gould, federal minister for families, children and social development, who joined Chen and education minister Jennifer Whiteside in the announcement in Burnaby, said the hundreds of dollars in savings will lower the cost of living for families with young children.

“I like to talk about childcare as working from home. Because it’s good for our kids, it’s good for our families, and it’s really good for our economy,” she said.

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Gould said the funding will help women remain in or re-enter the workforce, as high child fees disproportionately affect mothers, many of whom have chosen to stay at home with their children as childcare costs make their lives more difficult exceed wages.

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The savings can also be combined with the province’s affordable childcare allowance — which families earn less than $111,000 a year — meaning some parents will see their daycare fees reduced to zero.

The government said this will bring average day-care fees down to $21 a day, from an average of $53 a day before government subsidies.

The province is also expanding the number of $10-per-day sites to 12,600 by the end of the year. About 6,500 places are currently subsidized at a $10 daily rate, but parents have complained that the program, which isn’t based on income, benefits some while leaving others behind.

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