Two daycare centres on the Sunshine Coast – Tiny Tots Daycare in West Sechelt and Espirit Daycare in Gibsons – are among 53 facilities across the province that will offer $10-a-day child care under a B.C. government pilot project.
Thirty-five families with children enrolled in the two Coast daycares will benefit from the program with fees capped at $200 per month or eliminated altogether, a release from MLA Nicholas Simons said Friday.
The pilot project will run until March 2020 as the government explores the feasibility of one of its key election promises – universal affordable childcare.
“Our government is following through with our promise to deliver affordable, quality child care and these two pilot sites will help make life more affordable for dozens of families on the Coast,” Simons said. “For too long families on the lower Sunshine Coast have been struggling with exorbitant child care costs. Today’s announcement marks our next step to make universal child care a reality for B.C. families.”
The provincial and federal governments will spend $60 million to subsidize daycare for the parents of about 2,500 children, Premier John Horgan announced Friday at one of the prototype daycare sites in Vancouver.
Horgan said he has heard from many parents who say their child-care costs are more than their rent or mortgage, which he said is not sustainable for working British Columbians.
The 53 prototype sites were selected out of a pool of 300 that applied this summer, said Katrine Conroy, minister of children and family development.
Priority was given to sites with infant and toddler spaces, but the subsidy was also given to non-profit agencies, private daycare facilities, Indigenous-run daycares and family-run facilities.
The prototype daycares will receive government funding to cover their operational and administration costs. They then pass on the savings to parents, reducing their fees to a maximum of $200 per month for full-time enrolment during regular hours.
The B.C. NDP made $10-a-day childcare a key pillar of its 2017 election campaign.
The government has introduced a new child-care benefit under which families can receive up to $1,250 per child.
There’s also a fee-reduction initiative for licensed child-care providers, which can apply for as much as $350 a month per child-care space to reduce fees.