B.C. Premier John Horgan was in Coquitlam Wednesday morning to make an announcement about child care in the province.
During the announcement, he defended the roll out of the plan.
Child care providers across the province have voiced frustration with the application process for the new parent-fee reductions that have been offered by the BC NDP government.
The province was forced to extend the deadline to apply from today until April 20 because there was so much confusion about the process and questions about the contracts.
Coverage of child care on Globalnews.ca:
Child care operator Lucy-Ann Smith submitted her opt-in paperwork, but she is frustrated that she hasn’t heard anything back.
“I am still waiting to hear back to see if they’ve accepted my application to opt in so my families are in limbo because they don’t know what they are paying April 1 so as far as I’m concerned they are paying their regular fees and I’ll have to reimburse them,” Smith said.
The way the program works is that child care providers must opt in to the program and promise they will pass the savings on to parents.
The discounts are kicking in for parents on April 1, even though the application deadline was moved back.
The province has funded a $1-billion program over three years that will cut daycare costs by up to $350 a month for each child, depending on how old they are and whether they are in a licensed family or group daycare. The funding goes to the child care and the savings are passed on to parents.
All licensed child care providers who pass on the fee reduction will also receive a 10-per-cent funding boost for any spaces that government funds through the new program.
For Smith, the up front cost to provide savings for parents will be significant.
She said the province implemented the program poorly, leaving providers with limited time and information to make a decision that will affect them long term.
The child care is supposed to pass the savings on to parents starting next week and that has left left not knowing what she should charge parents next week.
“I get that their intentions are good. I get it and I am glad that this money is coming into child care for these young families,” said Smith.
Katrina Chen, the minister of state responsible for child care, said staff are working to address all fee-reduction applications by April 20.
But so far, the province has only gone through about 25 per cent of the 3,400 child care facilities that are eligible for the funding. Most of those applications have seen facilities hoping to opt into the program.
“We’ve already processed over 900 applications. The opt-in rate continues to be about 85 per cent so it’s kind of holding there and we are processing applications as soon as we can,” Chen said.