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Daycare savings kick in for B.C. parents, but pressures on providers remain

While B.C. families are now seeing additional savings on child care due to funding that kicked in Thursday, advocates say a lack of staff and spaces may leave providers unable to meet a surge in demand.

Meagan Brame, who owns Saxe Point Daycare in Esquimalt, says some parents are saving an incredible amount of money, and paying considerably less than they would have a few years ago. For example, she says one family is paying just $30 a month for their child care.

"Between the fee reduction that the government has put in place for Dec. 1, as well as the affordable child care benefit -- they're paying quite a bit less," she explained.

The new federal and provincial program funding means some parents are saving up to an additional $550 per child. The amounts vary based on age and there are no income restrictions.

Chantelle Brunette, a parent in Victoria said the money was welcome, but wondered when the province will deliver on its promise of $10-a-day child care.

"I hope it will happen eventually, but it probably won't be while she's still in daycare," she said, motioning to her daughter.

Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen told CTV News about 20,000 families are currently paying that rate – which works out to less than one-sixth of the province's total spaces.

"We started our child-care plan in the 2018 budget, and it's a 10-year plan to bring universal affordable child care to the province," Chen said.

Brame pointed out cost is only one of the concerns in the child-care sector, pointing to a shortage of spaces and a quest to find staff she describes as "brutal."

Advocates are hopeful with child care now part of the education ministry workers will get better pay and benefits, increasing interest in working in the field.

While increasing affordability is a good thing, Brame says it's also increasing demand.

"What we're finding is a lot of parents that would have just done part-time or would have just stayed home for a little bit longer are now taking child care," she notes.

And as more families opt to enroll their kids in daycares, an already strained system could face even more pressure. Top Stories

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