More than 12,000 children will be attending child care for $10 a day by the end of the year, according to the B.C. government.
It opened applications for its expanded affordable child care program Monday (June 20), with the promise that the number of spaces available will nearly double from 6,500 to 12,500 by December 2022.
Applications from child care providers will be reviewed and approved based on priority criteria, according to the province. First in line will be larger non-profit, publicly delivered and Indigenous-led providers in communities that don’t yet have a $10-a-day option. The province will also consider population density, it says.
Still, it encourages all child care providers that offer services to children five and younger to apply by the Aug. 18 deadline.
For families who nab a spot in the affordable care program, their costs are estimated to drop from $1,000 a month per child, to $200.
As of the 2021, Statistics Canada estimates there were 224,047 children under the age of five living in B.C. There are currently 133 $10-a-day centres operating in B.C., according to the province: five in Fraser Valley, eight in Kootenay-Boundary, 67 in Metro Vancouver, 21 on Vancouver Island, 15 in the north and 17 in Thompson-Okanagan.
Funding for the program comes in part from the federal government, which has committed $3.2 billion over five years to child care, and from the province which has invested $2.7 billion since 2018.
Applications can be made on the B.C. government website at gov.bc.ca.