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What happened to $10/day child care? Budget falls short on campaign promise
Despite promising a major expansion of the province's child tax credit, B.C.'s newly unveiled budget contained no action on an NDP campaign pledge many parents have been holding out hope for: $10-a-day child care.
- Read a more in-depth lookahead by CTV New Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan
- Replay: 2019-20 budget announced
The wording of the NDP's $10-a-day child care commitment became vaguer once the party signed a pact with Andrew Weaver's Greens in 2017 to topple the Liberals, saying only that the new government would work to expand spaces, reduce costs and make child care more accessible.
And while the NDP announced in November that it was testing a prototype universal child care system and several daycare centres across B.C., Finance Minister Carole James's speech Tuesday featured specific mention about the future of those plans.
Instead, one of the biggest new perks for families announced in the budget is the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit, a refundable tax credit that will replace the existing Early Childhood Tax Benefit beginning in October 2020.
Unlike the current credit, which is only eligible for children up to the age of six, the new benefit will be handed out until children turn 18.
“That means once the new benefit is in place, a family will receive as much as $28,800 from when the baby is born until adulthood,” the government’s budget plan reads. “For a family with two children, support can easily surpass $40,000 for a family.”
Altogether, the NDP estimates 290,000 families will benefit, at a cost of about $400 million annually.
The province also promised another $27 million to support child care affordability programs introduced in last year's budget.
James said her party's child care plans are being “phased in over time,” adding that $1 billion committed in 2018 is already being used to help many eligible families save up to $350 a month per child.