B.C. child care to cost $10-a-day on average in 5 years, leaders promise

A new agreement between the federal government and B.C. will see child-care fees in the province averaging at $10-a-day for children under six in the next five years, the prime minister announced Thursday.

Through a nation-wide program and "historic investments," average fees at regulated spaces will also be cut in half by the end of next year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

That will come through a five-year investment of $3.2 billion.

As well, 30,000 new government-regulated spaces for children under six will be opened in the next five years, Trudeau said from Coquitlam. In the following two years, another 10,000 spaces will open.

Premier John Horgan was also at the announcement and said B.C. needed the federal government's support to reach its goal of reducing the cost of child care.

"We could not get to where we're going … without the full participation of the federal government," Horgan said.

"I cannot wait to cash the cheque, prime minster."

In their announcement, Trudeau and Horgan said the COVID-19 pandemic further shed light on how crucial child care is.

"We talked about child care during the pandemic," Horgan said. "The child care workforce was the workforce behind the workforce … if we did not have child care spaces open and available, our communities would not function."

Trudeau's visit to the West Coast comes amid speculation of a possible call for a federal election.

The prime minister will have multiple other meetings Thursday, including another with the premier and a meeting with the mayor of Lytton, which was recently destroyed in a fire.