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Licensed child-care providers getting $20M to cover expenses during Omicron surge

Licensed providers are eligible for a grant of $160 per space based on the facility’s maximum capacity
B.C. is investing $20 million in one-time grants to help licensed child-care providers.

The province has stepped up to help licensed child-care providers in B.C. that are struggling under the burden of staffing shortages and added costs as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

The $20 million comes in the form of one-time grants and is in response to concerns raised by providers about the rise of the Omicron variant.

"Child-care professionals are the heart of child care and they have been working tirelessly since the pandemic started. As a parent of a young child, I know first-hand the tremendous difference their support is making to families and communities," said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, in a statement.

"We are committed to responding to the needs of child-care providers during this ever-changing situation. These new grants will help child-care providers continue to keep children safe and healthy by providing funding for COVID-related staffing, supplies and cleaning needs."

Licensed providers are eligible for a grant of $160 per space based on the facility’s maximum capacity. The money is expected to start flowing by mid-February to centres that receive Child Care Operating Funding and those participating as $10-a-Day ChildCareBC sites (formerly Universal Child Care Prototype Sites).

"Making sure that child-care centres continue to be safe spaces for children and professionals is a top priority," Chen said. "That's why, since spring 2020, we have provided more than $320 million in temporary emergency funding and, with this, more than $73 million in health and safety grants. We will continue to support child-care providers to navigate the pandemic as we work toward our ChildCareBC plan to make child care a core service available to every family that wants it, when they need it, at a price they can afford."

The announcement follows a virtual information session for child-care professionals and parents featuring the minister, along with Dr. Bonnie Henry and other public health officials on Jan. 26, 2022. A link to the video of the session is available on the government's website.