Standing Strong Together


Letter from the Honourable Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care

Published: February 24th, 2022

View the letter from the Honourable Katrina Chen which touches on a number of topics including the 2022 budget and embedding child care within the Ministry of Education.

child playing with a bucket of water outside

Dear Child Care providers, professionals, partners and advocates:

Thank you for your ongoing hard work and perseverance through the ever-changing environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

I remember that, when I started as Minister of State for Child Care in 2017, there was very little investment to support child care providers and parents. We have changed that and made child care a priority – since launching the ChildCareBC plan in Budget 2018, we have invested over $2.4 billion to establish child care as a core service that is available to any family that wants it, when they need it, at a price they can afford.

On Tuesday, our provincial government presented the 2022 Budget, which builds on the important progress we have made together in the past four years. In addition to the $2.287 billion from our base budget commitments for existing programs and supports, Budget 2022 adds an additional $284 million over the next three years – years five-seven of our 10-year ChildCareBC plan.

As you know, with this year’s Budget, we are embedding child care within the Ministry of Education.

Our work has established British Columbia as a national leader on child care, which meant that when the federal government came to the table, we were ready. This Budget also reflects the historic agreement we signed with the federal government in 2021.


Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are the heart of child care. In 2018, we launched a recruitment and retention strategy to ensure ECEs receive the training, support, compensation and recognition they deserve.

This year’s budget will also extend the $4/hour wage enhancement to even more child care professionals. It will now include ECEs who split their time between working with children and supervising staff, answering calls from parents, and helping with other behind-the-scenes work. Eligibility will also extend to Aboriginal Supported Child Development workers and Supported Child Development workers who are directly employed by child care facilities.

Already, we have doubled the number of ECE training seats over the last three years, and now Budget 2022 will add 130 additional new seats to train more ECEs. In partnership with the Government of Canada, we will also develop a professional wage grid for ECEs – something advocates have been calling for. We are making progress to recruit and retain more people to this rewarding and in-demand career, but we know there is more work to do.


Budget 2022 builds on our progress of reducing fees for tens of thousands of families and brings parents closer than ever to our goal of $10 a day child care. There are currently more than 2,500 $10 a day child care spaces in British Columbia and, through Budget 2021 and our federal partnership, the total number of $10 a day spaces will increase to 12,500 by the end of this year.

Through our federal partnership, we will be reducing average fees for full-day care for 0–5-year-olds in licensed child care spaces by 50% to an average of approximately $20 a day by the end of 2022. Budget 2022 expands savings to more families by cutting average fees for preschool and before- and after-school care to less than $20 a day for the 2023/24 school year.


The investments we have made since Budget 2018 have funded 26,000 new child care spaces across the province. Now we are building on those investments.

Through an agreement with the federal government last fall, we are delivering 30,000 new spaces for children under the age of six within five years, and 40,000 within seven years. Budget 2022 further invests to create more before- and after-school spaces with a $30 million increase to the New Spaces Fund, increasing the number of school districts offering the Seamless Day program from 24 to 44, and expanding the Just B4 program to 14 more school districts.


We remain committed to ongoing dialogue with First Nations rights holders, Métis and Inuit peoples about what a distinctions-based approach to Indigenous child care means. Budget 2022 includes additional support for the Aboriginal Head Start program, which provides culturally-based, inclusive child care, early learning and family bonding opportunities for Indigenous children. We are also investing in consultation, planning and capacity building for Indigenous rights holders to lead on determining what distinctions-based child care should look like.


There is more work to do, and we will need your support and expertise. Thank you to everyone who has already participated in our engagement process that started in December.

I encourage you to provide feedback through the next round of engagement that focuses on key themes in the future of child care. More information can be found on the Early Learning and Child Care Engagement web pages of our ChildCareBC Web site. I know that you will have many questions about how these new programs will roll out, and in the coming days and months we will be sharing more information as the programs are developed.

I want to close by taking the opportunity to thank you again for everything you do for the children and families in your care. We know that we cannot provide additional supports to families without your help, and I want to reiterate my commitment that, as we move forward, we will continue to work with all child care providers.



Katrina Chen