If you’re struggling with your child’s upbringing in British Columbia, it’s time to consider your eligibility for the Affordable Childcare Benefit.
Since every province and territory has its child care benefit in Canada, the Affordable Childcare Benefit aims at offsetting the cost of raising children of families in the province of British Columbia.
However, your entitlement depends on your family size, income, type of care, among other factors.
But the fundamental question is, are you eligible for this benefit? How much will you get? How can you apply? When will you receive the benefit?
Here I answer these questions and other related questions to help you jump and start receiving the benefit.
Understanding the Different Types of Child Care in BC
Before we discuss the Affordable Childcare Benefit, it’s essential to understand the different types of child care in the province of British Columbia.
That said, BC has four different types of child care benefits which I discuss one after the other below:
1. Licensed Child Care
This child care is administered to group children under various ages and groups.
Thus, Licensed Child Care is provided by certified caregivers at their homes. The caregivers are inspected and monitored frequently by regional health authorities.
Here are the various Licensed Child Care categories in BC:
(a) Group child care (below 3 years old)
This group consists of up to 12 children that are from birth to 36 months old.
(b) Group child care (30 months old to kindergarten)
This group consists of 25 children that are 30 months old to kindergarten age or school age.
(C) Group child care (pre and post-school care
As the name implies, this group consists of up to 24 or 30 (Grade 1 or 2) children under kindergarten or school age and above
(d) School-age care on school grounds
Also, this group comprises 24 or 30 (Grade 1 or 2) children under kindergarten or school age and above.
(e) Multi-age child care
This group consists of 8 children from birth to 12 years old.
(f) In-home multi-age child care
Also, this group consists of 8 children from birth to 12 years old.
(g) Family child care
This group consists of 7 children from birth to 12 years old.
(h) Preschool (30 months old to school-age)
Preschool care consists of 20 children from 30 months old to kindergarten or school age.
(i) Occasional child care
This group consists of 16 or 20 children, if they’re less than 36 months or not. Children under this care must age from 18 months and above.
(j) Recreational Care
Finally, your children may benefit from recreational care in British Columbia if they’re under kindergarten stage and above.
Notably, this group has no maximum number; so far there are adequate facilities to accommodate the children.
2. Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care
This refers to unlicensed children caregivers in BC that are eligible to offer care. To be eligible, they must be authorized by a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre.
Here are the requirements for registering with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre:
- A home safely assessment
- Character references
- Child care training workshops or courses
- First aid training
- Criminal record checks (for persons above 12 years residing in the home)
As a result, you’re sure of the safety of your child under a registered unlicensed caregiver.
That said, this group consists of only two children or a group of unrelated siblings.
Furthermore, the age range for the children is from birth to 12 years old.
3. Licence-Not-Required Child Care
Unlike registered the Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care, Licence-Not-Required Child Care providers are unregistered and unlicensed in BC.
As a result, they are not required to meet the safety or health standards of caregiving.
Consequently, you’re responsible for overseeing the safety and care of your child under this arrangement.
That said, Licence-Not-Required Child Care providers host only two children or a group of unrelated siblings.
Finally, children are eligible for this care from birth to any age.
4. In-Child’s-Own-Home Care
As the name implies, this type of care is provided by parents or guardians through babysitters or nannies.
Hence, this care is solely family-based as other children can’t be included.
Unlike other child care arrangements here, the child care provider is not required to meet any standards.
Consequently, it is your responsibility to assess the ability of the potential caregivers to provide the necessary care.
That said, you’re also expected to:
- Contribute regularly to the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance.
- Register with WorkSafeBC and Revenue Canada.
What is the Affordable Childcare Benefit?
Affordable Childcare Benefit is a BC-sponsored monthly payment administered by the Canada Revenue Agency to qualified BC families to replace the Child Care Subsidy.
Like other provincial/territorial child care benefits in Canada, the Affordable Childcare Benefit aims to help families with the cost of raising their children in Canada.
However, not all eligible families received the same benefit. How much you get depends on your family size, income and type of care etc.
Based on your family situation, you may receive a partial or full benefit on the Affordable Childcare Benefit dates.
Finally, you need to renew your application annually to continue receiving the Affordable Childcare Benefit upon registration.
Who is Eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit?
Not every BC family is eligible for the Affordable Childcare Benefit. To qualify for this benefit, you must meet the following requirements:
1. Residency and Citizenship Status
The residency and citizenship status means you must be a:
- Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, Convention refugee, or someone looking for protection.
- BC resident with a valid address
2. Type of Care
The type of child care you need also determines your eligibility for the child care benefit. Child care by a family member of occasional care is not qualified for this benefit.
3. Reason for Child Care
After identifying the type of care you need, you must provide a reason for it. Here are the qualified reasons for requesting child care in BC:
- Attending school
- Working or self-employed
- Engaging in an employment program
- Job search (for one parent/guardian)
- Enrolling your child in a licensed preschool
- Health challenge that affects your ability to care for your child
- Delegated Aboriginal Agency social worker or directed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Income testing is conducted to calculate your family’s annual income and deductions, determining your eligibility for the childcare benefit.
That said, you may qualify for the benefit if you earn up to $111,000. You may also be eligible if you earn more than that but have large deductions based on your family size or if you have children with special needs.
However, you may not be eligible for this benefit if you’re caring for a child that’s not yours under the Ministry of Children and Family Development placement.
How Much Affordable Childcare Benefit Can You Receive?
As mentioned earlier, not all eligible families received the same Affordable Childcare Benefit amount.
So how much you get depends on your family size, type of care, family income etc.
However, you can use the online estimator to determine how much benefit you can get quickly.
The online estimator will ask you to provide your personal and family details such as your:
- Marital status
- Total number of Children
- Total number of children that have special needs
- Family gross annual income
That said, you should note that the online estimator does not provide the actual amount you can receive. It only estimates based on your circumstances. So you may earn more or less than what is estimated.
Finally, here are the maximum amounts for the various types of BC child care arrangements.
Affordable Childcare Benefit Dates
The Affordable Childcare Benefit is administered on the same date as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). The dates for 2021 are as follows:
If you’ve not received your payment after five working days from the due date, contact the CRA at 1-800-387-1193.
Also, you can contact the BC Child Care Service Centre on 1 888 338-6622 (8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday) for any concerns about the benefit.
5 Things to Know Before Applying for the Affordable Childcare Benefit
Before applying for the Affordable Childcare Benefit, ensure that you meet the following requirements:
1. Select a child care provider
Based on your child’s needs, you should choose a care provider that can provide the necessary care.
As a result, you and the care provider must fill and sign the Child Care Arrangement Form (CF2798). You will be asked to attach this form with your application.
That said, you can click here to find a childcare provider if you’re struggling to find one.
2. Avail all personal information and identification for everyone on your application
The personal information you will be required to provide includes your name and your spouse’s name, date of birth, gender, and the number of children.
Furthermore, you will be required to upload any of the following government-issued identification for all your family members:
- Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Resident Card
- Certificate of Indian Status
- Birth certificate
- BC Services Card
- Driver’s licence
On the other hand, you will be required to provide a copy of any document, letter or certificate from the Canadian government if you’re a Convention refugee.
3. Avail your spouse contact information
You and your spouse will be required to complete part of the application if your family has two parents. As a result, you will be asked to provide your spouse’s functional email address.
Upon submitting your part of the application, a code will be emailed to your spouse, which they can use to access the My Family Services site using BCeID.
Subsequently, your spouse will be required to provide their personal information and allow the CRA to confirm their income directly.
4. Arrange all your supporting information and documents
You should arrange your information and documents to justify your condition.
Thus, you need to scan your documents and ensure they display all the essential information.
5. Have a compatible web browser
Finally, you need to have a compatible web browser ahead of your application. This means having Window, Android or iOS device to access:
- Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
How to Apply for the Affordable Childcare Benefit?
Once you meet the above requirements, you’re ready to apply for the Affordable Childcare Benefit in any of the following options:
- Apply Online Using My Family Services
If you’ve already accessed other B.C. government services, you can use the same login on My Family Services. Else, you need to register for a Basic BCeID.
Also, you can take up to 60 business days to complete the application. The application will be processed in approximately 20 working days.
After applying, you can view the status of your application on your dashboard.
- Apply by Mail or Fax
If you don’t want to register the benefit through My Family Services, you can do so through Mail or Fax.
However, registering through Mail or Fax may take up to three weeks or more if you didn’t provide all the supporting documents.
Here’s the Mail address:
Child Care Service Centre
PO Box 9953 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9R3
To make your application through Fax, you need to send a cover page to this number: 1 877 544-0699.
Affordable Childcare Benefit is fundamental to offsetting the cost of raising your child in British Columbia.
Whether you’re in a low or mid-income bracket, this benefit will help you reduce cost and maximize your savings or investment.
As mentioned previously, you need to apply for the benefit annually to keep receiving it.
Also, you must apply for the benefit a day before the end of the month you want to receive it.
For example, if you want to start receiving the benefit by October 1, you need to apply by October 30.
Fortunately, the application process is stress-free, as you can complete it online within a few minutes.
However, if you’re looking for another means of reducing the cost of your child’s upbringing, I recommend opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).
Finally, don’t hesitate to contact me in the comment section for more clarification on the Affordable Childcare Benefit and other related benefits in Canada.