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Child care subsidies going up, but some fear the plan will backfire

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Starting this month, families with young children will be getting more help paying for child care from both the provincial and federal governments.

But some experts say the extra payments could actually make things worse for parents already struggling to pay their child care bills.

The federal Universal Child Care Benefit goes up for each child under six and a new benefit is starting for each child aged seven to 17. The province is also starting a new benefit for families with net incomes lower ithan $150,000 per year.

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC says quality spaces in our region are hard to find and cost as much as a second mortgage payment so the extra cash won’t make a huge difference.

“It’s not enough to actually help parents make child care affordable. It’s not enough to list families out of poverty. It’s not enough to replace a parent’s income so that they can stay at home,” she argues.

Gregson adds these benefit changes could actually make things more expensive. “Whenever there’s an increase in subsidy, then we’ll see child care fees that rise accordingly. This is a really short-sighted approach of government to try to deal with what is a child care crisis.”

She would rather see a system that’s directly paid for by government, like the $10 per day system proposed by the federal NDP.