THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO                                Daycare could be free for families who earn less than $45,000 a year, but only at prototype sites.

THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO Daycare could be free for families who earn less than $45,000 a year, but only at prototype sites.

Rainbow Country Daycare selected as prototype site for B.C. childcare initiative

The daycare is the only one across the North Island that was selected for the cost-saving program.

Only one daycare was selected across the North Island to take part in a new B.C.-wide universal child care initiative.

Port Hardy’s Rainbow Country Daycare was selected among 260 applicants for what is known as B.C.’s Universal Child Care Prototype Site earlier this month, which could mean parents only pay $10 a day for their child. The local daycare is one of 50 low-cost spaces B.C chose out of the province.

Staff will also receive $1 per hour extra on their wage, which comes in effect January 2019. The new model came into effect at the start of November.

“It is very exciting for us to be part of British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care Prototype,” says Lynda Heavenor and Marnie Smith, both of whom are involved in the daycare’s day-to-day business. Rainbow Country Daycare is “able to offer parents positive financial benefits to families with children who attend the (daycare),” they added.

The two mentioned they are excited to take part to “test and evaluate funding and operations models that will help British Columbia move forward with (a) universal child care system.”

Parents who enrol their children from Monday to Friday will only have to pay $200 per child a month, according to a B.C. news release. Children who attend daycare for less than three days but for the entire day, then parents may only have to pay $140 per child.

“Through our participation, the maximum amount that any family with children enrolled at our facility will pay is $200 per child per month,” they added. “Under this program, households earning up to $111,000 annually in pre-tax income could be eligible for a benefit that may further reduce their monthly child care fee. For families earning $45,000 or less per year may result in them receiving free childcare.”

“We receive monthly payments based on our enrollment,” the two concluded, “as a parent with a child enrolled your childcare fees are being significantly reduced.”

The Province of B.C. has provided more information on the Affordable Child Care Benefit online for parents interested in enrolling their child in a daycare participating as a prototype site.