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Families no longer charged fees for child care waitlists

Effective Monday, April 1, 2024, families looking for licensed child care can no longer be charged a fee to put their names on waitlists, removing a barrier to finding high-quality child care.

“Child care is expensive enough without fees adding up before families have secured child care,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of State for Child Care.

“Eliminating waitlist fees will mean that families no longer face having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars simply to find a child care space. We’re supporting families with the cost of child care, and now that starts when families are looking for a spot.”

Some providers were charging families a fee to put their name on a waitlist. Because most families looking for child care reach out to a number of providers, this was a significant cost. Waitlist fees, most of which are non-refundable, ranged from $25 to $200 or more.

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“As a parent, I can’t thank the government enough for adding rules to forbid charging for a waiting list,” said Gerónimo Ratcliffe.

“Not having this barrier will definitely help us find a place for our second baby and compete for the spots, no matter our financial status.”

Eliminating waitlist-related fees at government-funded child care centres makes access to child care more equitable for all families and is another way that government is reducing costs. Through B.C.’s child care affordability programs, government has brought the cost of child care for children 12 and younger down to $18 from $45, which is the current average daily cost before government reductions.

In addition to the more than 15,000 spaces in $10 a Day ChildCareBC program, more than 128,000 families are saving as much as $900 per month per child through the fee-reduction program. When combined with the income-tested Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB), many families are paying $10 a day or less for child care, including those not participating in the $10 a Day program.

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