BC announces emergency funding to keep daycares open

BC backstopping daycares

The B.C. government is providing daycares extra funding to make it through the coronavirus pandemic. 

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, has advised all parents who can, should care for their children at home. She also recognized that while some centres may close, child care services can and must be provided in a safe manner for those families whose parents work in critical roles.

The government announced Friday it will be giving daycares that remain open compensation to continue operating with reduced enrolment. Those that close will receive support for fixed operating costs, like rent or lease payments.

"We are working hard with the Ministry of Health to address concerns," said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. 

"We have heard from many child care providers and ECEs who want to stay open to support families and essential service workers at this time. The measures we're announcing today will give them the support they deserve and the tools they need to continue safely caring for children."

Eligible centres that are staying open to care for children of essential service workers will receive seven times their average monthly funding from government, which is expected to cover approximately 75 per cent of a group facility's average monthly operating expenses. 

“These expanded financial supports will help facilities stay open, even with reduced enrolment, to support care needs for those parents who need it,” the government said in a news release.

Daycares that close will receive help with fixed costs like rent/lease/mortgage during the temporary closure, so they can reopen when able. These centres are eligible to receive two times their average monthly funding from the government, which is expected to cover approximately 20 per cent of an average group facility's monthly operating expenses.

To support families who may be struggling with loss of employment and income, child care providers receiving these payments must not charge parents fees for any periods of closure or for any vacant spaces while they are open, including when a parent chooses to temporarily withdraw a child due to COVID-19.

They must also agree to reserve spaces for families that were accessing their services before the pandemic, even if these families choose to temporarily withdraw, so families can be assured their spot will still be there once the pandemic passes.

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