Back to school won’t be quite as painful for young families this year after the province provided new funding under the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI) for eligible preschool and school-aged children.
The new CCFRI funding went into effect Sept. 1 and will provide a fee reduction of up to $145 per child per month. This makes childcare more affordable for families and is paid directly to childcare providers, saving families the chore of having to apply on their own.
The new funding is in addition to the fee reduction families with kindergarten-aged and younger children have been receiving since Dec. 2022. The provincial and federally-funded program reduced fees by up to $900 per month for each child.
“September can be tough, with back-to-school expenses on top of other essentials and groceries all going up because of global inflation. It’s a lot and people need a break,” said Premier David Eby. “That’s why we’re bringing down the cost of child care again, this time for families with preschool and school-aged children. This made-in-B.C. solution will help ease the pressure on families just in time for the new school year.”
The province continues to make investments to support families to access affordable child care through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which helps families earning $111,000 and under per year with the cost of child care.
“We’re lightening the load for families who have older kids in child care because we know child care doesn’t end at age five – it is very much needed outside of school hours,” said Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care. “We couldn’t bring these savings to families without the over 96 *per cent of eligible providers who are partnering with government through our fee reduction or $10 a Day ChildCareBC programs to families throughout B.C.”
Childcare providers participating in the CCFRI receive funding to reduce fees as well as increased operational funding, which they can use to support staff wages, operational and administrative costs, and other expenses.
In exchange for this increased funding, participating providers are required to keep annual fee increases to no more than three per cent of the regional median fee for their area, with limited exceptions.
This fee increase limit strikes a balance between providing relief to parents while acknowledging that, over time, childcare providers may need to cover increasing costs.
Currently, 94 per cent of eligible licensed childcare providers participate in the CCFRI and in the 2023-2024 fiscal year more than 38,000 children receive support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit each month.
To learn more about the CCFRI visit www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/optin.