Most parents who work long hours, are still in school or need more time to accomplish one task or another require child care for their children. However, child care can be pretty expensive in Canada and low-income or moderate-income earning parents may find it hard to meet the costs incurred by hiring any child care provider.
Like many other provinces, the province of British Columbia has a variety of child care programs to provide financial support to low-income earning parents to help them provide for their children.
The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit is one of the child care support programs available to residents of British Columbia. It offers financial assistance to eligible parents to help them meet the costs of child care services.
What Is The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB)?
The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit or ACCB is a child support program that provides low-income and middle-income earning parents in British Columbia with monthly financial assistance to help them offset the costs incurred by child care services. The program is funded and sponsored by the British Columbia provincial government and is a replacement for the Child Care Subsidy.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit to recipients on behalf of the British Columbia government. However, parents will have to reapply for the benefit every year.
BC Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB) Payment Dates
The CRA issues payments for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit on the same day as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) every month. If you are eligible for the BC ACCB in 2023, you will receive your monthly benefit payments on the following dates:
|Benefit Month||Payment date|
|January||January 20, 2023|
|February||February 20, 2023|
|March||March 20, 2023|
|April||April 20, 2023|
|May||May 19, 2023|
|June||June 20, 2023|
|July||July 20, 2023|
|August||August 18, 2023|
|September||September 20, 2023|
|October||October 20, 2023|
|November||November 20, 2023|
|December||December 13, 2023|
You can sign up to receive your benefit payment via direct deposit or cheque.
If your benefit payment is delayed by at least five days, you should contact the CRA immediately.
Types Of Child Care Available In British Columbia
There are four main types of child care available and supported in British Columbia. They include:
- Licensed child care
- Registered licence-not-required child care
- Licence-not-required child care
- In-child's-own-home care
Licensed Child Care
In this type of child care, child care facilities are monitored and regularly inspected by regional health authorities.
For these child care facilities to be licensed, they must meet certain criteria for health and safety, staff qualifications, documentation and record keeping, space and equipment, programming, and the number of staff taking care of the children.
At licensed child care facilities, there are different categories for each age group, which are shown in the table below:
|Licensed Child CareCategory||Age Group||Maximum Number of Children|
|Group child care for children below 3 years old||From birth to 36 months||12 children|
|Group child care for children from 2.5 years old to kindergarten or school age||30 months to kindergarten or school age||25 children|
|Group child care (before-and-after school care) for children of school age.||School-age (kindergarten and above)||24 children from kindergarten and Grade 1 or 30 children from Grade 2 and older (if no kindergarten children are present).|
|Child care in school for children of school age||School-age (kindergarten and above)||24 children from kindergarten and Grade 1 or 30 children from Grade 2 and older (if no kindergarten children are present).|
|Multi-age child care||From birth to 12 years old||8 children|
|In-home multi-age child care||From birth to 12 years old||8 children|
|Family child care||From birth to 12 years old||7 children|
|Preschool child care for children from 2.5 years old to kindergarten or school age||From 2.5 years (30 months) to kindergarten or school age||20 children|
|Occasional child care||18 months and above||16 children|
|Recreational care||School-age (kindergarten and above)||No maximum number as long as there is available space to accommodate the children.|
Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care
This group is made up of unlicensed care providers who are registered with a Child Care Resource and Referral Centre. To register with any Child Care Resource and Referral Center, caregivers must have completed the following requirements:
- Character references check
- Criminal record checks (for those above the age of 12 living in the home)
- First aid training
- Home safety assessments
- Child care training (courses or workshops)
This group offers child care services to children from birth to 12 years old. This group also allows a maximum of two children or a group of siblings who are not limited to the child care provider at a time.
Licence-Not-Required Child Care
This group of child care providers is not licensed or registered. They are also not monitored or inspected. However, they are allowed to offer child care services in British Columbia legally. These child care providers do not necessarily have to meet health and safety standards.
You are responsible for the safety and health of your child or children if these child care providers are hired.
In British Columbia, these unregistered and unlicensed child care providers are allowed, legally, to care for a maximum of two children at a time or a group of siblings who are not related to them.
It is illegal for them to provide child care services to more than two children at once. The children can be of any age from birth to any age.
This arrangement is when you hire a child care provider such as a nanny or babysitter, to care for your child or ward.
Child care providers in this category are unlicensed and may not have the specific or required qualifications suitable for a child care provider. They are also not monitored and may lack any kind of experience or formal child care training.
In this type of child care arrangement, the care provider cannot offer care services to children from different families simultaneously. Also, the care provider should not be a live-in relative of the child being cared for.
You are responsible for the screening process and hiring of the child care provider under this arrangement.
You will also have to:
- Make payments to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) regularly
- Register the employment arrangement with Revenue Canada and WorkSafe BC.
BC Affordable Child Care Benefit Eligibility Requirements
The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit has specific eligibility criteria to check whether an individual or family qualifies for the program. To be eligible for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit, you must meet the following criteria:
Residency And Citizenship Status
The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit program requires you to:
- Be a resident of British Columbia and have a current BC address
- Be a citizen of Canada, a permanent resident, a person in need of protection, or a Convention refugee
Type Of Child Care
Almost all types of child care are qualified to receive the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit. However, if your child receives child care from a family member living with you or from licensed occasional care or recreational care, you will not be eligible to receive the benefit.
Reason For Child Care
You must have eligible reasons to require child care. Some eligible reasons include the following:
- You are looking for work (one parent or guardian)
- You are still in school
- You are participating in an employment program
- You are self-employed or working a job
- You have a medical condition that impairs your ability to care for your child
- Your child goes to a licensed preschool
- You have been referred to a child care provider by a Ministry of Children and Family Development worker or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency social worker
Families will undergo income testing to calculate if they're eligible to receive a benefit amount. In general, if your family unit's net income is not more than $111,000, you may be eligible to receive a benefit payment.
However, if your family unit's net income is greater than $111,000 but has a sizable deduction due to the size of your family or due to children with special needs, you may also be qualified for a benefit amount.
Your family may not undergo income testing if you care for someone else's child due to a Ministry of Children and Family Development placement.
Related: You may also be interested in the BC Child Opportunity Benefit (BCCOB) payment dates.
BC Affordable Child Care Benefit: How Much Can You Receive?
The amount you may be eligible to receive for BC Affordable Child Care Benefit depends on many factors, such as:
- Your family's size
- Number of children with special needs
- The type of child care needed
- Amount of care needed
- Household income
Let's see how these factors affect your benefit amount:
The total number of people in your family living with you will determine how much you may receive. If you have any children with special needs, you may be eligible to receive a higher benefit payment amount.
Number Of Children With Special Needs
The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit offers an additional monthly amount of $150 to parents with children with designated special needs who need extra financial support.
However, the combined total of the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit and the special needs supplements cannot exceed the amount charged by the child care provider caring for the child.
If otherwise, the special needs supplements amount will be reduced so that the combined amount of the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit and the special needs supplements will be equal to the rate charged by the child care provider.
Type Of Child Care
The type of child care you arrange for your child or children and your child's or children's age will also determine the amount you may receive for BC Affordable Child Care Benefit.
Amount Of Care Needed
The amount of child care needed and the number of days in which child care is provided per week is a factor that may be used in determining the benefit amount your family may be eligible to receive. If your child needs child care for less than 20 days per month, the benefit amount you may receive will be divided proportionally per day or prorated.
The income the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit uses to determine your benefit amount is calculated from the information you provided on your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Notice of Assessment or your income declaration form.
The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit calculates the amount a family may be eligible for based on the total gross annual income earned by the parents or guardians of the child, the deductions for family size, and if you have any children with special needs.
Consequently, if your family net income after deduction is:
- From $0 to $45,000, you will receive the full benefit amount.
- From $45,000 to $111,000, you may be qualified to receive partial funding.
However, the amount you may receive for BC Affordable Child Care Benefit is largely based on the types of child care provided for your child.
The table below shows the maximum monthly benefit amounts you may receive based on all the abovementioned factors:
For Licensed Child Care
|Age Group in Any Licensed Child Care Category||Group Child Care, Multi-Age Child Care, and School Age Child Care on School Grounds||Family Child Care and In-Home Multi-Age Child Care||Licensed Preschool||Other Licensed Child Care Categories|
|Children below 19 months old||$1,250||$1,000||–||–|
|Children aged 19 months and above but below 37 months old||$1,060||$1,000||–||–|
|Children aged 37 months old and above but are not up to school age||$550||$550||–||–|
|Children up to school age (kindergarten)||$415||$415||–||–|
|Children aged 29 months old and above but not up to school age or have reached school age but are not enrolled in school||–||–||$225||–|
|Children enrolled in school (child care surrounding school day)||–||–||–||$210|
For Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care
|Age Groups of Children in a Registered Licence-Not-Required Child Care Arrangement||Maximum Monthly Benefit Amount|
|Children below 19 months old||$600|
|Children aged 19 months old and above but under 37 months||$600|
|Children who are 37 months old and above but are not up to school age||$550|
|Children up to school age (kindergarten)||$415|
|Children enrolled in school (child care surrounding school day)||$210|
For Licence-Not-Required Child Care
|Age Groups of Children in a Licence-Not-Required Child Care Arrangement||Maximum Monthly Benefit Amount|
|Children below 19 months old||$438|
|Children aged 19 months old and above but under 37 months||$404|
|Children who are 37 months old and above but are not up to school age||$354|
|Children enrolled in school (child care surrounding school day)||$210|
For In-Child's-Own-Home Care
|Age Groups Receiving Child Care in Their Own Home||Maximum Monthly Benefit Amount|
|First child below 19 months old||$394|
|First child 19 months old and above||$318|
|Second child under 19 months old||$198|
|The first child of school age receives care before-and-after school; and another child in the family who is not up to school age but also receives child care at home.|
Second child, if the child is not under 19 months old, whether or not the child receives child care surrounding school days.
Each additional child, whether or not the child receives child care surrounding school days.
|The first child of school age receives child care surrounding school days unless there is another child in the family not up to school age but also receives child care at home.||$210|
What To Do Before Applying For The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit
Before applying for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit, there are certain things you should know and put in place, such as:
Selecting A Child Care Provider
You should select a child care provider for your child before applying for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit. You should also ensure that both you and the child care provider have fully completed and signed all the important sections on the Child Care Arrangement Form (CF2798) and submitted the form when applying for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit program.
Providing Personal Information And Identification
You should be able to provide personal information and identification for everyone on your application. When applying, you will be asked to provide information such as the name, date of birth, and gender of yourself, your children, and your spouse, if applicable.
You will also have to upload digital images of one of the following means of identification from the government for each family member on your application:
- Birth certificate
- Driver's license
- Canadian Citizenship Card
- Permanent Resident Card (if it applies)
- Indian Status Certificate (if it applies)
- BC Services Card
Furthermore, if you need protection or are a Convention refugee, you'll be required to submit a copy of any certificate, document, or letter from the Canadian government confirming your Canadian status.
Providing Your Spouse's Contact Information
If you are married, you will be asked to provide your spouse's contact information, especially your spouse's email address which they use regularly. You and your spouse will have different parts of the application to complete.
When you submit your part of the application, your spouse will receive an email containing a code that they can use to log into My Family Services with a BCeID.
Your spouse will have to provide their personal information and give their consent for their income to be confirmed directly with the CRA.
Providing All Your Supporting Documents And Information
You will be asked to provide the supporting documents and information describing your situation. Where needed, you will have to upload a scanned image or photo of any required documents. You should ensure the information on the documents uploaded is visible.
You should also have information to support your reasons for needing child care. If you are working at a job or are self-employed, you must provide your work schedule, including the days and hours you work.
If you are still searching for a job, you must provide a journal containing the activities you have undertaken when looking for a job.
If applicable, you will also be required to provide documents showing that you:
- Have a medical condition that may impair your ability to take care of your child
- Are still in school
- Are a part of an employment program
- have children with special needs.
Web Browser Compatibility
If you are applying for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit using a Windows desktop or laptop, the compatible web browsers include:
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
If you are applying from a MacBook, the compatible web browsers include:
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
If you are using an iPhone or iPad, the compatible web browser is Safari.
If you are using an Android device, the compatible web browser is Google Chrome.
How To Apply For The BC Affordable Child Care Benefit
Once you have all the necessary documents ready, you can apply for the benefit.
You should apply to receive benefit payments before the end of the month in which you need child care funding. For example, if you need funding for child care from May 1 onwards, you have to apply for the benefit by May 30.
You can apply for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit in one of two ways:
You can apply for the benefit by logging in to your My Family Services account. You can sign up for a new account if you do not have one.
After logging in, go to the ‘Affordable Child Care Benefit' page to start the application process. Once you start the application process, you will have to complete the application within 60 days.
You can complete and submit your application at once or save it to finish later. Once submitted, it takes about 20 days for your electronic application to be reviewed.
You can view your application's status after applying by logging in to your account and checking for any messages or notifications.
Applying By Mail Or Fax
To apply by mail or fax, you should first download the application form and the supporting documents, complete it and then submit the application and documents package by mail to:
Child Care Service Centre
PO Box 9953 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9R3
You can also submit it by fax, including the cover page, to 1-877-544-0699.
The application will be reviewed in three weeks. However, it will take longer if you do not provide all the required supporting documents.
Low-income and middle-income earning parents who do not have the time or ability to care for their children due to working long hours, school, disability, illness, or any other activity that prevents them from caring for their children can apply to receive the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit.
This benefit provides financial aid to help them offset the rising costs of hiring a child care provider or paying for any child care services.
If you meet the requirements, you will receive a monthly payment. However, you will need to reapply every year to keep receiving the benefit. You should apply for the benefit before the end of the month in which you would like to receive your benefit payment.
BC Affordable Child Care Benefit FAQs
How do I check the status of my Affordable Child Care Benefit application?
You can check the status of your BC Affordable Child Care Benefit application by logging in to your My Family Services account and checking for any messages or notifications.
How do I claim the child care subsidy in BC?
You can claim the Child Care Subsidy (now called the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit) by applying for the program online or by mail or fax before the end of the month you wish to receive child care funding.
If you are applying online, you can log into your My Family Services account or register for a new account if you do not have one to apply for the benefit. If you're applying by mail or fax, simply download the form from the website, complete the form and attach any required documents. Then, mail the package to:
Child Care Service Centre
PO Box 9953 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9R3
Alternatively, you can send it by fax, including a cover page, to 1-877-544-0699.
Can I still apply for Affordable Child Care Benefit if my spouse is from another country and is waiting for their Permanent Resident status?
Yes, you can still apply for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit if your spouse does not meet the residency and citizenship status requirements. You can apply for the benefit as long as you meet the residency and citizenship requirements. Your spouse doesn't have to.
How much does subsidy pay for child care in BC?
The amount you may receive for the BC Affordable Child Care Benefit (formerly called Child Care Subsidy) depends on factors like your family income, the type of child care your child receives, the number of children with special needs you have, the amount you need for child care and your family size. Depending on these factors, you may receive a maximum amount ranging from $210 to $1,250 per month for each child. You may also receive an additional amount of $150 for each child you have that has a designated special need.