Victoria daycare rejected from B.C.’s fee reduction program wants answers

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Daycare provider says her fee increase was reasonable and needed to cover credential upgrades for staff. Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

A daycare provider that wanted to opt-in to the province’s new child care fee reduction program, is unsure of what to do next after her application was rejected.

Marianne Whitaker says she had already given parents the discount based on getting the money back from the government once she was accepted.

“April 1st I gave all my parents discounts,” Whitaker said. “But I never in a million years thought that they would reject anyone.”

READ MORE: B.C. extends deadline for child care providers to opt into fee reduction

She said she was shocked when she received an email that said her application had been denied because she had increased her rates.

Whitaker increased her fees by two per cent to $895 for toddlers, and up four-and-a-half per cent to $1,150 a month for infants.

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Budget speech commits to ‘made in B.C.’ childcare plan – Feb 20, 2018

Shocked and bewildered, she said this is the first time she’s increased the fee in two years.

But if child care providers opt-in to the program, they must agree not to raise fees for the rest of the year.

“They said if you disagree with this decision please email us. So again it’s another email, you cannot speak to anybody regarding decision making,” she said.

The B.C. government introduced a child care strategy in February’s budget as a way to reduce child care fees for parents by April.

READ MORE: About half of B.C.’s child care providers apply for reduced fees

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Whitaker submitted her application ahead of the original March deadline, and said she followed the information she was given including a discount to parents at the beginning of the month.

To date, more than 1,500 providers have applied, 1,100 of those providers have been approved while 57 have been rejected.

READ MORE: Days before new B.C. child care deadline, providers say they’re still in the dark

“I think things are going great,” said the minister responsible for the program Katrina Chen. “A lot of parents are benefiting from this plan and we have a majority of providers who have opted in,” she said.

Chen said the goal was to give parents a break.

“We are only one month in and there are already 22,000 families that are benefiting from this program and then there’s more to come.”

She said there are about 10,000 spaces that are still being processed.