Daycares in B.C. are no longer allowed to charge waitlist fees

Licensed child-care providers in British Columbia can no longer charge families a fee to be on their waitlists as of April 1. 

The province says the fees have been eliminated to reduce the overall costs associated with child care, as part of funding guidelines released by the B.C. government in December that will take effect over the coming year.

“Child care is expensive enough without fees adding up before families have secured child care,” Mitzi Dean, minister of child care,  said in a news release. 

The province says some providers were charging non-refundable fees between $25 and $200 to hold a spot on their waitlists. 

Parent Rory Richards said in a news release that she’s spent thousands of dollars on waitlist fees for her three children. 

“I look forward to when there are enough licensed child care spaces for families so we won’t need to worry about waitlists at all,” she said. 

Child care advocates say charging parents to be put on a waitlist for hard-to-come-by spaces for their children is a cash grab.

“This has been a long time coming,” Sharon Gregson, with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., told CBC News in December, when the change was first announced

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $69.9 million investment in child-care spaces in B.C. during a visit to Surrey. The province said 930 new $10-a-day spaces will be added this spring, bringing the total to about 15,000. 

The provincial government says it aims to have 20,000 spaces in the next two years. But families say they need child care now. 

WATCH | Parents waiting for child care say they are unable to work: 

B.C. woman has been waiting years for child care for her son

2 months ago

Duration 3:45

Parents who are waiting months to years for child care say they are unable to work and are getting frustrated by the uncertainty. Despite significant investments to lower child care fees, advocates say there are still not enough spaces.

In January, Ashima Arora told CBC News she was on seven child-care waitlists in the Lower Mainland for her 17-month-old son, having first applied when she was three months pregnant. 

“It’s a nightmare,” she said. 

Natasha Hartson in Kamloops told CBC in February that she goes through a spreadsheet of licensed child-care providers on a monthly basis, calls each one in hopes of finding care for her daughter. 

“I just want to make sure I’m top of mind,” she said. 


Posted in CBC