British Columbia

Vancouver child-care centre unhappy it doesn't qualify for new government subsidies

Buddings offers flexible and occasional daycare, but its licence is the same as the IKEA ballroom

Buddings Daycare offers last-minute places and its licence puts it in the same category as an IKEA ballroom

Lunch time at Buddings Daycare. The business does not qualify for new child care subsidies announced by the NDP government in B.C. because it is licensed as an occasional daycare. (Miranda Fatur/CBC)

A Vancouver daycare wants the provincial government to change the rules on occasional child care so its clients can qualify for subsidies announced earlier this year.

Buddings Daycare describes itself as a "flexible, occasional daycare" that "always has space." Child-care spots can be booked online with only one hour's notice, providing a valuable service for parents who work on call or who have irregular schedules. 

But because Buddings is only licensed as an "occasional daycare" — placing it in the same category as an IKEA ballroom — the business has been deemed ineligible.

"We tried to apply for the fee subsidies so that our families could be reimbursed for their child-care fees, but we were told that our license doesn't qualify," said owner Talia Erickson.

The province says it appreciated the unique service offered by flexible child-care providers and says it will convene a round table discussion as it continues to develop affordable child-care initiatives.

Buddings parents like Rebekah Hammond hope that won't take too long. 

"It would really help out if the costs were subsidized a bit, and we were helped out just to encourage mothers, or parents, to go back to work. Otherwise the financial balance is a hard decision to make," she said. 

Under the new child-care initiative, families may be eligible for a monthly subsidy of as much of $350 if their child attends a daycare that has opted into the new program.

With files from Zahra Premji