The B.C. government’s new construction fund for daycare centres aims to expand spaces through non-profits that partner with school districts and other public facilities, with enough funding to provide 22,000 new spaces over the next three years.
Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy announced Friday that the revamped capital fund is taking applications from licensed child care centres that participate in the NDP government’s new operating subsidy program.
Public sector partnerships with non-profit providers such as local governments, school districts, community centres, Indigenous organizations and child development centres are eligible for up to $1 million to create new spaces. School boards on their own can qualify for up to $500,000. The fund covers up to 100 per cent of the capital cost, an increase from 90 per cent under the previous program.
For-profit daycare operators continue to be eligible for 75 per cent funding up to a maximum of $250,000.
“My heart sinks every time I hear of another child care centre that’s closing because their lease has gone up or their site is being developed,” Conroy said. “I believe if we let market forces dictate our path on child care, we lose sight of what early childhood education is really about.”
Conroy said a new application process will make it easier for providers, with continuous intake rather than fixed annual application dates.
The construction program is funded with $221 million over three years, included in the February budget.
The capital program follows a new child care subsidy program for licensed facilities that takes effect Sept. 1. It provides up to $1,250 per month, per child to daycares so they can lower fees for parents.