New Child Care Improvements in B.C.

Child care information for parentsproviders and partners

For Parents

Lower child care costs

If you're a parent with one or more children in licensed care, you may be eligible for fee reductions starting April 1, 2018. 

To be eligible, your licensed child care provider has to opt in to the program. Once they do, they will receive extra funding to reduce your fees by up to:

  • $350/month for group infant/toddler care
  • $200/month for family infant/toddler care
  • $100/month for group care for children aged 3-5
  • $60/month for family care for children aged 3-5

Find out if your provider will opt in

Before April 1, 2018 if you have an infant or toddler or a child aged 3 to 5 in licensed group or family care, check to see if your provider is planning to participate in the fee reduction initiative:

  • After March 20th, check this website for a list of participating facilities
  • Before April 1st, ask your child care provider if they are opting in
  • In April, if a parent isn’t seeing the fee decrease that they were expecting, they can call 1-888-338-6622. Information will also be available at this number before April 1st. 

Affordable child care benefit

Starting in September 2018, a new affordable child care benefit will help to reduce child care fees. Families with incomes up to $111,000 may be eligible, and parents will be able to apply online. 

The benefit will be phased in, with amounts increasing over three years, beginning with licensed infant and toddler care (2018-19), and then expanding to three- to five-year-old care in 2019-20.

New child care spaces

Budget 2018 provides an additional $237 million over three years to increase access to licensed child care, including supporting the creation of over 22,000 new licensed child care spaces. Additional investments through the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement with the Government of Canada will bring the total number of new licensed child care spaces to more than 24,000 over three years.

The Child Care Major Capital program will be expanded and redesigned to support partnerships in the non-profit sector, with local governments, and with public sector agencies. In addition, the Ministry will accept applications continuously, which will result in more applicants throughout the year. More information will be available in May 2018. 

Improving access to child care

Federal investments through ELCC funding will support the enhancement of Supported Child Development (SCD) and Aboriginal Supported Child Development (ASCD) programs for children with special needs through an investment of $30 million. This will support 1,400 children by reducing waiting lists for the SCD and ASCD programs.

Federal funding of $3 million over three years will also help support young parents.

For Providers & Partners

Reducing fees

Licensed child care providers enrolled in the Child Care Operating Funding (CCOF) will receive their contract renewals in March 2018 and will be invited to participate in the new child care fee reduction initiative.

Under the initiative, licensed providers will receive funding to reduce parent fees by up to:

  • $350/month/space for group infant/toddler care
  • $200/month/space for family infant/toddler care
  • $100/month/space for group care for children aged 3-5
  • $60/month/space for family care for children aged 3-5

As part of this new initiative, CCOF recipients who choose to join will also receive an increase of 10% on their individual CCOF base rates to support operational expenses.

Opting in

At this time, the new initiative is optional, and providers can choose to participate at any time. However, the initiative provides funding to help providers reduce their parent fees, which will help to keep their program competitive with other programs in their community, while also supporting the families in their programs by providing them with reduced monthly child care costs.

Parents will be able to check online to see if their provider has joined the child care fee reduction initiative and will be encouraged to speak to their provider about the fee reduction.


The Child Care Minor Capital Funding program provides funding to licensed child care providers for emergency repairs to facilities or equipment and relocation costs. This program will expand funding and eligibility to licensed Family Child Care providers who are currently excluded from eligibility, and will support approximately 6,200 spaces each year.

Other changes that are planned to make more spaces available include:

  • In 2019-20, enhanced funding will be available to encourage licensed child care providers to extend their business hours to include evenings and weekends
  • The Ministry of Children and Family Development will work with the Ministry of Education and school districts to explore opportunities to co-locate licensed child care on school grounds

Helping providers become licensed

Current Licence-Not-Required (LNR) providers looking to become licensed will be able to apply for start-up grants to cover costs associated with meeting licencing requirements. Once licensed, these providers may be eligible to enroll in the child care fee reduction initiative and pass on child care fee reductions to parents.

Increasing accountability

As more licensed child care spaces are created, there will be an increased need to license the new facilities and ensure compliance with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and Child Care Licencing Regulation. 

Budget 2018  provides additional funding to Health Authorities to increase the number of Licensing Officers to help meet this demand. The Ministry of Health is also updating the Community Care Licensing Regulation to improve public reporting on illegal child care providers to equip parents with better information to inform their child care choices.

Improving programs

The Ministry of Education will work to update and increase access to the BC Early Learning Framework (ELF) to guide programming for children in child care and for children up to age eight. Companion resources will also be available to help parents support healthy learning and development.

To enhance data collection and inform future policy development, the B.C. government will support the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at the University of British Columbia to improve the Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ).

Family Child Care providers will also be supported through a new training model.

Indigenous-led child care

The B.C. government is committed to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Ministries are reviewing policies, programs and legislation to implement the principles of the Declaration and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation commission. 

Aboriginal Head Start Program

Federal ELCC funding will support the expansion of Aboriginal Head Start (AHS), an Indigenous child care model, with $10 million a year over three years to create approximately 590 new licensed child care spaces by 2019/20. Four categories of expansion are planned, including:

  • New urban communities that have no Head Start programs and require capital and operating investments
  • Urban communities that have Head Start programs in place that will expand programming to meet demonstrated demand (requiring both capital and new operating investment)
  • New urban communities that have physical space but require operating investment to deliver the Head Start child-care program
  • On-reserve Head Start programming that requires capital and operating investments for expansion to include child care model

Recruitment and retention of Early Childhood Educators (ECEs)

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are critical to the quality of early care and learning in licensed facilities. We cannot build a universal child care system without a qualified and well-supported workforce. The need for qualified ECEs will increase proportionately with the planned expansion of child care spaces across the province.

To meet this need, the B.C. government will lead a labour-market review to improve data on wages and benefits and identify human-resource strategies that will attract and retain a qualified early care and learning workforce.

Improving ECE skills

Through the ELCC Agreement with the Government of Canada, the B.C. government will invest $16.3 million in an ECE training fund. Additional funding for public post-secondary institutions will expand ECE training programs, and the government will work with the University of Victoria’s Community Facilitators Program to expand that program throughout the province.

More Child Care Information