Comox child care centre among $10 a day prototypes

Comox child care centre among $10 a day prototypes

Government rolls out universal child care project, using 53 centres in pilot project

The provincial government has taken action towards a $10 per day daycare plan.

Fifty-three facilities across the province – including one in Comox – will be used in an 18-month pilot project to test the “universal child care” plan.

Tigger Too Early Learning Centre, a Comox Valley Children’s Day Care Society (CVCDCS) facility, is one of the 53 prototype centres that will deliver child care at a maximum cost to the families of $200 per child.

The balance of the monthly costs will be covered through the new program.

“We will report [expenses] monthly. The parents pay a maximum of $200, that’s for full-time – part-time pays a pro-rated scale – and the government reimburses us the difference,” explained CVCDCS senior manager Charlene Gray. “So we are not out any money; it’s just coming from a different place.”

The prototypes are being funded through an investment of $60 million under the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement with the Government of Canada. In all, parents of about 2,500 children will benefit from the prototype projects.

The Province selected the sites after a call for applications in June. While priority was given to sites that had infant and toddler spaces, the Province expanded eligibility to include other types of licensed child care.

“We are finding new ways to make it easier for families to get by every month and to save for the future,” said Premier John Horgan. “Through this kind of action, where we significantly reduce the cost of child care, we can make life more affordable for so many B.C. families.”

The program will accommodate typical cost increases projected for the coming 18 months.

“In order to opt in… we reported what our rates are, what our planned increases are, and had to show that those are historical kinds of things that we do yearly. Then they approve that,” said Gray. “So it‘s not that you cannot raise your rates, it’s just that you have to show if you are going to, this is the reason why.”

Tigger Too’s current rates are $750 per month for a three-to-five-year-old and $950 for children under three.

Project 10 years in the making

Gray has been an advocate for the $10 a day plan since its conception in 2008 and said Friday’s announcement was historic.

“Back in 2008, there were six of us sitting around a table, literally,” she said. “The government has taken the principals [put forth by the group] and the research, and done their own, and that has formed what is happening now. So it is historic for us, and we are more than just a little excited.”

Gray said the introduction of universal child care will have an immediate impact on all families.

“You can imagine, having to pay a fraction of what you would normally pay for daycare… it lifts many families out of poverty and gives many families choices. I had one family say ‘I can put gas in my car.’ Another family member said ‘I was pressured to go to work full-time, but I couldn’t afford the child care. Now I can.’ And also the opposite is true. I have one family member who said now that child care is lower, she can afford to work part-time. So it is giving families a real choice.”

Gray said Tigger Too currently has a wait list of approximately 200 for a program that only has 12 toddler spaces.

“That’s pretty normal, and that was before any announcements came.”

She anticipates an increase in that wait list number.

Beaufort ED calls it a “significant step”

Marc Lalonde, the executive director for Beaufort Children’s Centre in Courtenay was “understandably disappointed” Beaufort was not selected as a prototype centre, but said this is a great step forward for child care in B.C.

“This is a government that has made a commitment to child care, not only in words, but in direct deeds,” he said. “I’ve been in child care for 40 years. I’ve heard lots of promises, I have heard lots of talk. But this is the most significant step I have seen in my 40 years.”

He said the bigger picture is what matters most and is hopeful that the prototypes prove the project to be successful, thereby paving the way for a province-wide program.

“I wish nothing but the best for Tigger Too and know they will be successful in being a great prototype.”

Gray said she empathizes with the programs that were not selected to be part of the project – CVCDCS has a Courtenay facility that was bypassed – but she is hopeful the program will expand to all licensed daycares at the end of the test period.

“We have been given a huge opportunity here,” she said. “Our obligation and our responsibility is to make this work, so the government will have the incentive to expand it to the rest of the province.”

More than 300 child care operators applied to participate in the universal prototype initiative.

Prototype sites exist in urban and rural communities around the province and include a range of operational models, from group child care, to family child care, to private and non-profit organizations.

Parents who are not accessing these low-cost spaces may still be eligible for support through the Affordable Child Care Benefit, which provides up to $1,250 per child a month for families with an annual income of $111,000 or less. Families using licensed child care may also see savings through the Child Care Fee Reduction, which has so far helped to reduce the cost of almost 52,000 child care spaces throughout the province.

–With files from the Government of B.C.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay–Alberni MP Gord Johns says 12 million Canadians do not have dental insurance. Photo by Bofu Shaw, courtesy of Unsplash
Courtenay–Alberni MP, CDA consider dental care for all Canadians

Gord Johns has initiated a mail-out that asks constituents the date of… Continue reading

A 407 Squadron CP-140 Aurora, along with a Halifax-Class frigate enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea in support of Op Neon in 2019. Canadian Forces photo/submitted
407 Squadron defends Canada for 80 years

The Comox-based squadron celebrating special anniversary

Jasmine Francoeur from Comox is an aviation technician for the Snowbirds air demonstration team. Photo by Canadian Forces/submitted
Comox’s Jasmine Francoeur’s career comes full circle with the Snowbirds

“To fly out here, fly into my hometown, it’s very special and I feel very lucky”

The school board is endorsing a national coalition for healthy food in schools. Screenshot, Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley school board backs national healthy food initiative

Coalition for Healthy School Food wants federal government to invest in food program

Comox Valley RCMP have responded to an increased amount of calls last year within the Town of Comox. File photo
Policing calls for traffic, domestic assault increasing within Town of Comox: RCMP

There were 2,806 calls for service within the town in 2020

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

Most Read