July 6, 2018 3:25 pm

B.C. eyes 22,000 new childcare spaces with $221-million capital fund

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For the first time this year, daycare providers will be able to access major funding to create new or expand licensed childcare spaces.

The $221-million Childcare BC New Spaces Fund will be doled out over three years, replacing the existing Child Care Major Capital Funding Program, and is meant to spur the creation of 22,000 new childcare spaces.

Non-profit partnerships with public entities will be eligible for the largest payouts.

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Katrina Chen, the minister responsible for child care, said those applicants will have access to double what was previously available to such groups.

“It could be a non-profit working with a municipality or a school district, which we are hearing a lot of interest [in], and a lot of proposals from a lot of communities,” she said.

“That will extend the funding up to $1 million, and will fund 100 per cent of the project.”

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Chen said private providers working with school districts could receive up to $500,000, also fully covered.

Other providers remain eligible to receive $250,000 to cover 75 per cent of a capital project.

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Providers will be able to apply year-round, rather than during fixed intakes, which the province says will allow funding to flow when it is needed.

Under the BC Liberal government, the province spent $26.5 million to create 4,300 childcare spaces between 2014 and June of 2017, with the previous Child Care Major Capital Funding Program.

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Vancouver Island daycare owner Carla Marcoux said she hopes this is the answer to expanding her business to offer care to 16 more children.

“I have the staff in place to be able to open up on the other side. We are just waiting until we can come up with that money,” she said.

Marcoux says she’s been waiting since the last grant was offered before Christmas for the opportunity to apply for funding.

In June, the province released $750,000 in grants aimed at helping unlicensed childcare facilities earn their certification.

Under the province’s larger $1-billion childcare initiative, only licensed facilities qualify for programs such as a fee-reduction subsidy.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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