Premier John Horgan says monthly child care fees to drop $350 on April 1 for some parents

Premier John Horgan says monthly child care fees to drop $350 on April 1 for some parents

File photo.

File photo.

Premier John Horgan says support in the budget for child care is one of the first steps toward the NDP’s promise of a $10-a-day program.

According to Horgan, starting April 1, monthly fees for children in licensed child-care centres will drop by as much as $350.

“Parents in every corner of B.C. will start seeing their child care bills go down next month,” says Horgan. “These fee reductions will offer families relief, and help people, particularly women, return to work. No one should be forced to choose between child care and other family needs.”

The fee reduction is available to families with children up to kindergarten age who go to licensed child care and whose providers opt into the program.

Horgan says the government’s $1 billion, three-year plan to build a universal child-care system announced last month aims to create more than 22,000 new licensed child-care spaces and cuts costs for up to 86,000 families. In the latest budget, the province committed $630 million over the next three years to make child care more affordable. The fee reduction is expected to help approximately 50,000 B.C. families.

However, he also says there may be growing pains along the way, which is why the government recently extended the deadline to April 20 for child-care operators to sign up for the program. After that date, providers can sign up for saving for future months at any time.

The provincial government said the fee reduction will save up to $350 per month for each child in group infant and toddler care, $200 per month for each child in family infant and toddler care, $100 per month for each child in group care for children aged three years to kindergarten and $60 per month for each child in family care for children aged three years to kindergarten.

The minister responsible for child care, Katrina Chen, says providers have applied for the fee reductions for more than 18,000 children.

A new affordable child-care benefit will be introduced in September to reduce costs for low-income families by up to $1,250 per month.

With files from the Canadian Press

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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