B.C. starts testing $10-a-day child-care program for 1,800 children across the province

British Columbia is testing a $10-a-day child-care pilot project starting this month, dropping bills for some parents down by hundreds of dollars each month.

The pilot project was announced in June but struggled to attract daycare providers initially

The B.C. government is testing a program that will provide families across the province with $10 per day child care. (Mike Dotta/Shutterstock)

British Columbia is testing a $10-a-day child-care pilot project starting this month, dropping bills for some parents down by hundreds of dollars each month.

The child-care initiative was announced in June but was slow to launch after few daycare providers applied to be part of the program, citing paperwork and qualification problems.   

"For many across the province, it started Nov. 1 that their fees went to $10 a day as the government had promised," said Sharon Gregson, spokesperson with Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.

Roughly 1,800 children across the province are impacted by the cheaper daycare. Per child, that can bring costs down from more than a thousand dollars a month to $200.

"Families are literally in tears. They are overjoyed," Gregson said.

"Not just low income families, but middle income families as well."

The 18-month pilot will offer about 1,800 child care spots for $200 per month or $10 a day, a dramatic reduction from what parents pay now for licensed care. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Prototype of funding model

The idea is to test the government funding model behind $10-a-day daycare, Gregson said.

"It's being called a prototype," she told Gregor Craigie, the host of CBC's On The Island.

"The reason that there is such a diverse range of organizations participating is so the government can get a sense of the costs involved."

Affordable childcare was one of the election promises the NDP ran on last year.

"When we think about elementary school, no one expects to go bankrupt having their child attending Grade 2, and we don't think they should go bankrupt having their child in early childhood education either," she said.

"This is a huge step in the right direction."

The program will run for 18 months and the province has pledged to invest $60 million in the initiative.

"We've long been able to detail other jurisdictions, both in Canada and around the world, that investment  in child care is not only good for families but good for the economy," said Gregson.

"Now, we'll have real time experience in the B.C. context."

British Columbia is testing a $10-a-day child-care pilot project starting this month, dropping bills for some parents by hundreds of dollars each month. 8:31

With files from On The Island.