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Waitlist fees for B.C.-funded child-care providers ending in 2024

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The controversial waitlist fees charged by some B.C. child-care providers will soon be a thing of the past – at least among providers that receive operating funding from the province.

With child care in short supply, some providers have charged families upwards of $100 to be waitlisted, with no guarantee they will ever actually receive a space – prompting calls from frustrated parents to ban the fees province-wide.

While the B.C. government has stopped short of a full ban, officials have confirmed any provider receiving child-care operating funding – including through the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative – will no longer be able to charge "waitlist and waitlist-related fees" as of April 1.

"We recognize some families have difficulty finding child care and are putting their names on multiple waitlists, which can cost those families hundreds or even thousands of dollars," said Grace Lore, minister of state for child care, in a statement to CTV News. "Eliminating waitlist fees is about ensuring equitable access to affordable, quality child care for families."

Some providers charge much lower fees, which they have defended as necessary to cover the administrative costs of maintaining their waitlist. Lore said providers will be receiving "increased monthly provider payments" to help cover those costs.

Under the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, providers currently receive up to $96 per child, per month, which is intended to help cover operating costs.

According to the province, only about five per cent of participating providers charge a waitlist fee. 

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