Low number of B.C. daycare providers opting in to fee reduction program worries parents
The NDP promised big child care savings would come into effect this month for B.C. parents, but many hoping for help won't be getting it.
New numbers show that fewer than half of eligible daycares asked to sign on to the government's fee reduction plan by the April 20 deadline. Parents will only see cheaper rates if their daycare provider asks to join the program.
"It seems like the whole thing has been really unclear for families and providers, I think," mother Michelle Rickinson told CTV News
According to the provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development, parents of children in licensed daycares can be eligible for fee reductions of up to $350 per space starting in April if their care provider has opted in to the program.
If care providers didn’t sign up by the April 20 deadline, they can also opt-in later.
Rickinson considers herself lucky that her provider is one of the 46 per cent that asked to sign on. She has two kids under five, and expects to save $1,800 per year with the fee reduction program.
"I think it's great because child care is so expensive," she said.
Although her care provider ended up signing on, she seemed to have reservations.
"At first she said yeah, I'm obviously very family centred. But then it seems like the government has more control over your business," Rickinson said.
She thinks if she were a parent of a child in a daycare that was one of the 54 per cent that didn't sign up, it would be "pretty upsetting."
Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, chose not to answer questions from CTV News on Thursday, but addressed other questions in the legislature. Laurie Thrones, the Liberal child care critic, wanted to know if Chen considered only half of providers opting in a success.
"We're only one month in, and this is the first time ever that child care fees are going down for many," Chen responded.
Jennifer Maillet, a child care provider based in Terrace, B.C., said she wishes the ministry would be clearer with how the program will work.
"It's been a lot of phone calls and talking to my fellow colleagues, and listening to provincial call ins, doing lots of research and talking to lawyers," she said.
She opted in to the fee reduction program, but as of Friday still hadn't heard whether her business was accepted.
As it stands, many parents don't yet know if they can bank on the promised child care savings.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan