The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit is one of the provincial benefits funded by British Columbia to support low-medium income families in raising their children in Canada.
The benefit is administered monthly by the Canada Revenue Agency alongside other federal and provincial benefits.
Wondering if you’re eligible for this benefit? This article discusses everything you need to know about the the benefit including the payment dates, eligibility, benefit amount and more.
Let’s dive in!
What is the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit?
The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit is a monthly benefit funded by the province of British Columbia to eligible low to medium-income families to help with the cost of raising children.
It is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) with the same payment dates as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
Usually, the Affordable Childcare Benefit is issued to families with $111,000 pre-tax income. However, families with more than this income threshold can also qualify depending on their situation.
How much Affordable Childcare Benefit you get depends on several factors that will be discussed below. But depending on your family situation, you may receive either a full or partial benefit from the BC government.
Who is Eligible for the Affordable Child Care Benefit in BC?
While the BC Affordability Child Care Benefit targets low-medium income families in British Columbia, applicants must also meet the following requirements to qualify:
1. Citizenship and residency status
Parents or guardians are required to have the following citizenship and residency status:
- Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, protected person, or convention refugee
- Be a current resident of B.C
Like many other government benefits, the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit is income-tested. Meaning, your income level is considered in determining whether you’re eligible for the monthly amounts and how much you can receive.
To qualify for this income testing, families are required to have a maximum of $111,000 pre-tax income.
However, you may still qualify for the benefit even if your family’s income is more than $111,000 after certain deductions are considered. There are deductions for family size and children with special needs.
So you may still qualify for the benefit even if you have an income above the $111,000 threshold but have a large family size or a child with special needs.
That said, families that act as guardians of a child under the Ministry of Children and Family Development placement may be exempt from this income testing requirement.
3. Reason for child care
The reason for child care is another important criteria for eligibility for the benefit. You must have an eligible reason for child care to qualify for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit.
Here are the eligible reasons parents or guardians can have to qualify for the benefit:
- Enrolled in school
- Participating in an employment program
- Working or self-employed
- Job hunting
- A medical condition that prevents you from caring for your child
- Have a child enrolled in a licensed preschool
- Referred by a Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Being a Delegated Aboriginal Agency social worker.
You only need to provide one of the above reasons to qualify for this stage.
4. Type of care
The program supports a wide range of child care, including in-child’s-own-home care, licence-not-required child care, licensed child care, and registered licence-not-required child care.
However, recreational care, licensed occasional care and family member child care are not supported.
How Much BC Affordable Childcare Benefit Can You Get?
The amount of Affordable Childcare Benefit you get depends on your family size, household income, amount of care needed and number of children with special needs.
Let’s take a detailed view of these factors one after the other.
1. Family size
The total number of children currently living with you determines how much benefit you will get. You may receive more benefits if any of your children have special needs.
2. Household income
The government usually calculates your total gross annual income based on the information on your income declaration form or Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Notice of Assessment.
Next, your annual income is adjusted for the deductions for family size and children with designated special needs.
In the end, you may receive full funding if you have an adjusted income of $45,000 or below. On the other hand, the government may issue a partial funding if your adjusted income is between $45,000 to $111,000.
3. Amount of care needed
How much care your child needs in a week or month also determines the amount of benefit your family may be entitled to.
The government prorates the payment depending on the amount of care needed. So the longer the care is needed, the higher your benefit could be.
Effective December 1, 2022, eligible families with children under participating licensed child care facilities in BC will receive up to $550 per child. This will help families lower the cost of their childcare up to $900 per month.
You can use this estimator to determine how much you will save on your bill with the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI).
4. Number of children with special needs
You may receive $150 extra benefit monthly if you have children with designated special needs requiring additional care.
However, the Affordable Childcare Benefit combined with the additional amount for children with special needs can’t exceed the child care provider rate.
When that happens, the government will reduce the additional amount to make the total amount equal to the rate of the child care provider.
5. Type of child care
Finally, the type of care your children need determines how much funding your family may receive. The type of child care you need usually depends on your children’s age, care provider and care setting.
Continue reading to learn about the various types of child care the program supports and their age groups.
4 Types of Child Care in British Columbia
As mentioned previously, B.C supports a wide range of child care, such as:
- Licensed child care
- Registered licence-not-required child care
- Licence-not-required child care
- In-child’s-own-home care
We’ll cover the 4 types of child care in BC in detail below:
1. Licensed Child Care
This child care is administered by licensed child care facilities inspected by the regional health authorities.
To qualify for this type of care, the child care providers must meet certain requirements including health, safety, child-to-staff ratios, record-keeping, staffing qualifications, etc.
There are specific requirements for the class size, child-to-staff ratio and staff qualification depending on the age group of the children at licensed child care centres.
The table below provides an overview of the maximum group size for each age group at licensed child care facilities:
|Category||Age||Maximum Group Size|
|Less than 3 years old age group child care||0 to 36 months old||12 children|
|2.5 years old to school group child care||30 months to school age||25 children|
|School-age group child care||Kindergarten and beyond||24 to 30 children|
|School-age care on school grounds||Kindergarten and beyond||24 to 30 children|
|Multi-age child care||0 to 12 years||8 children|
|In-home multi-age child care||0 to 12 years||8 children|
|Family child care||0 to 12 years||7 children|
|2.5 years old to school age (preschool)||30 months to school age||20 children|
|Occasional child care||18 months old and beyond||16 to 20 children|
|Recreational care||Kindergarten and beyond||No limit|
2. Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care
As the name implies, registered license-not-required child caregivers don’t need a license to operate. However, they are required to register with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre.
Registered care providers cater for only two children or unrelated sibling groups aged between 0 to 12 years old.
3. Licence-Not-Required Child Care
Licence-not-required care providers don’t need a license or registration to operate. Also, they are not inspected or monitored by any authority.
However, the responsibility of overseeing child care and safety lies in the hands of parents and guardians under this arrangement.
This type of child care provider can cater to only two children or unrelated sibling groups between 0 to any age.
4. In-Child’s-Own-Home Care
This is a home-based unlicensed child care arrangement by parents or guardians. Examples of in-child’s-own-home care include babysitters and nannies.
However, the babysitter, nanny or any caregiver must be unrelated to the child’s parent or guardian.
Since this type of care is not monitored or inspected by any authority, it’s the responsibility of parents and guardians to determine how to hire the best care provider.
Learn about the rates of the above child care benefits in BC.
BC Affordable Child Care Benefit Dates For 2023
So if you’re eligible, when can you expect to receive the Affordable Childcare Benefits for 2023?
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit with the same payment schedule as Canada Child Benefit.
This means you can expect your payment to be received on the same date as your CCB payment.
Therefore, the BC Affordable Child Care benefit payment dates for 2023 are:
|Benefit Months||BC Affordable Child Care Payment Dates|
|January 2023||January 20, 2023|
|February 2023||February 20, 2023|
|March 2023||March 20, 2023|
|April 2023||April 20, 2023|
|May 2023||May 19, 2023|
|June 2023||June 20, 2023|
|July 2023||July 20, 2023|
|August 2023||August 18, 2023|
|September 2023||September 20, 2023|
|October 2023||October 20, 2023|
|November 2023||November 20, 2023|
|December 2023||December 13, 2023|
You can contact CRA on 1-800-387-1193 if your benefit is delayed more than five business days after the payment dates in the table above.
Like other benefits, you should enrol for direct deposit to ensure your payments are always on time and guaranteed to arrive on the benefit payment dates.
Affordable Child Care Benefit in BC: Things to Know Before You Apply
So far, we have discussed what the Affordable Childcare Benefit entails, eligibility, how much you can get and payment dates.
What is left now is the application process. But before you apply for this benefit, here are the key things you need to know.
Choose your child care provider
Use the Child Care Referral Service to find the available care providers in your community. You can narrow your search based on providers that offer additional early-year support or fee reduction.
After choosing a provider, fill and sign the Child Care Arrangement Form (CF2798) together with your care provider and submit it during the application.
Prepare personal information and IDs
You will be required to provide your personal information alongside those of your spouse and children (if any). This includes your name, gender and date of birth.
Also, you will be required to upload a copy of either of the following government-issued IDs for each of your family members:
- Canadian citizenship/permanent resident card
- BC Services card
- Certificate of Indian Status
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s licence
- A copy of any document, letter or certificate for convention refugee status
Provide all the supporting information and documents
The government may require you to provide supporting information or documents during the application. So it’s important to have a clear copy of all your relevant information and documents ready.
Prepare your spouse’s contact information
If you have a spouse, you will be required to fill out the application together. After filling and submitting your part of the application, a code will be emailed to your spouse to access My Family Services in order to fill their part of the application.
In addition to providing personal information, the CRA will require your spouse’s consent to have their income confirmed so as to proceed with the application.
You need a compatible web browser
If you’re applying for the Affordable Child Care Benefit online, you will need a compatible web browser and a device. The BC application portal supports the following devices and web browsers
Supported web browsers:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox
And you can access the application portal through the supported devices including Windows desktop or laptop computers, Apple/MAC devices, Android phones and tablets, iPhones or iPads and so on.
Affordable Child Care Benefit Application Process
Now that you have all the required information and documents ready, you can easily apply for the benefit. There are three options for applying the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit: online, Fax, or Mail.
- Online application: Login to your My Family Services account or register if you don’t have one. Once you logged in, you can navigate to the Affordable Child Care Benefit page to initiate your application. It may take up to 20 business days to process your application but you can view the status on your dashboard.
- Fax: Send a cover page to 1877-544-0699.
- Mail: Send the completed application form and supporting documents to the following address:
Child Care Service Centre
PO Box 9953 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9R3
It may take up to three weeks to process your application through Fax or Mail, especially if you didn’t provide the complete supporting documents.
That’s all about the Affordable Child Care Benefit application process.
Each year, you’re expected to renew your application to remain a beneficiary. Finally, you need to apply for the benefit before the end of the month you want to receive it.
Additional Child Benefits in BC
Affordable Childcare Benefit is just one out of many benefits you may be eligible for in BC. Chances are high that if you qualify for this benefit, you may likely qualify for the following benefits.
BC Child Opportunity Benefit (BCCOB)
This benefit is combined with the Canada Child Benefit and administered to BC families with children below the age of 18.
The BC Child Opportunity Benefit (BCCOB) replaced the B.C. Early childhood tax benefits effective October 2020.
How much BC Child Opportunity Benefit you get depends on your family income and the number of children.
The following is a breakdown of the maximum BCCOB families can get depending on the number of their children.
|Number of Children||Maximum Amount|
|Each subsequent child (below 18 years old)||$800|
Learn more about the BC Child Opportunity Benefit here.
BC Climate Action Tax Credit (BCCATC)
This tax-free benefit offsets the carbon taxes of low-income BC residents. It is administered jointly with the GST/HST credit by the CRA on behalf of the BC government.
How much BCCATC you get depends on your adjusted family income and net family income. The following are the maximum benefits for July 2023 to June 2024 calendar year:
- Individual = $447
- Spouse/common-law partner = $223.50
- Single child = $111.50
In addition to being a BC resident, you need to be 19 years of age or older to qualify for this benefit. You can also be eligible if you’re a parent that lives with your child or has a spouse or common-law partner.
Moreover, the BC Climate Action Tax Credit is disbursed quarterly, with the payment dates for 2023 in January, April, July, and October.
Learn more about BCCATC here.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
Finally, you can receive the Affordable Child Care Benefit alongside the Canada Child Care Benefit on the same date.
CCB is a tax-free monthly payment the CRA administers on behalf of the federal government to low-income families with children below the age of 18 in Canada.
Depending on your situation, you may receive the CCB payment together with the CCB young child supplement, and Child disability benefit
In the end, how much CCB you get depends on your marital status, adjusted family net income, number of children under your care and the age of your children.
Learn more about the Canada Child Benefit here.
Some FAQs on Affordable Childcare Benefit
Like other income-tested benefits, the Affordable Childcare Benefit is not taxable.
Consequently, you’re not required to report it as taxable income when filing your tax returns.
Childcare subsidy is the former name of Affordable Childcare Benefit in BC which was renamed in September 2018.
The maximum income eligibility for child care subsidy in BC is $111,000.
However, some families with more than $111,000 income are exempted subject to their income deductions or children’s special needs.
The maximum child care subsidy in BC is $1,250 per month. However, you can earn more than this by claiming additional benefits such as the BC Child Opportunity Benefit (BCCOB) and the BC Climate Action Tax Credit (BCCATC).
All you need is to apply for the Affordable Childcare Benefit annually online, by fax or by mail.
Government benefits like the Affordable Child Care Benefit help reduce the cost of raising children in Canada amidst the increasing cost of raising children.
If you qualify for the Affordable Child Care Benefit, you may likely qualify for other related benefits, such as BCCOB, BCCATC, and CCB.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to take the practical step of applying for these benefits today. If you need more clarification, please leave a comment below.
Kindly explore our existing blog posts to learn more about other government benefits you may be eligible for in Canada.