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Province continuing to support child care providers

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 1:00 PDT, Tue June 16, 2020

The province is providing more funding to support child care providers and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary emergency funding program for licensed child care centres is being extended until Aug. 31, ensuring essential-service workers continue to have access to safe, reliable child care and parents can return to work as the economy restarts and more BC businesses open.

It also ensures that child care centres are holding spots, free of charge, for their existing families who may choose to stay home with their children through the summer. Communicating this timeline well in advance will allow child care providers, as well as parents, sufficient time to plan their next steps. 

“Whether centres have remained open or are temporarily closed, I want to thank all child care providers for their unrelenting dedication, support and patience,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy. 

The funding supports open centres to operate with reduced enrolment and helps those that are temporarily closed to cover fixed costs, like rent or lease payments. Operators must use any surplus funding to provide their early childhood educators with temporary wage enhancements or other compensation, such as training or benefits.

One of the conditions of the funding is that centres must prioritize spaces for children of essential service workers. As of May 2020, more than 8,000 children of essential service workers were attending child care, allowing their parents to provide the health care and critical services British Columbians rely on. 

To support families who may be struggling with loss of employment and income, child care providers receiving this funding 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.

The BC Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health have also released health and safety guidelines for child care settings that are supporting child care centres, which were temporarily closed, to reopen safely.

For more information on the temporary emergency funding, click here.

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