Affordable and accessible child care for more families
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Alberta government is reinvesting federal child care dollars to support families who need it most.
Under a renegotiated bilateral agreement with the federal government, the Alberta government will receive $45 million to assist in the delivery of affordable and accessible child care.
“High-quality early learning experiences are essential to the intellectual, emotional and physical development of our children. Our government is pleased to continue working with the Government of Alberta to ensure that all children and families in Alberta have equal access to the quality early learning and child care they need to succeed.” Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Government of Canada
“Accessible, affordable, high-quality child care is an important part of our economic recovery. This investment will ensure tens of thousands of parents, especially women and single parents, can enter the workforce while also supporting parent choice and parents’ diverse needs. We thank the federal government for working with us to invest in Alberta’s working parents.” Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services
The funding for the three key priorities includes:
$29 million for affordability – Supporting low-to-middle-income families through higher child care subsidies.
A simplified formula and renewed investment in child care subsidy will result in 16,000 lower-income families paying an average of $25 per day for child care compared with about 7,500 families of all incomes paying $25 per day in the former pilot project.
Parents of more than 24,500 children will see their subsidy support increase by 18 per cent and parents of another 3,500 will also see subsidy increases.
$9.7 million for accessibility – Meeting the diverse needs of parents and children across the province.
The new Inclusive Child Care program will expand on the pilot to provide child care operators access to coaching, professional development, and funding for additional staff to support children who have complex needs.
Providing programming that address cultural and linguistic needs, such as Indigenous and Francophone programs.
Creating up to 385 spaces this year in communities with high need and working with operators, communities, and parents on innovative solutions for parents who work outside typical business hours.
$4.7 million for quality – Supporting childhood learning and development with high-quality programming and training.
The Flight curriculum, a framework that helps guide early learning and child care educators for young children, will be made available online to all child care centres.
Supporting ongoing professional development to ensure Alberta has a well-trained and highly skilled early childhood workforce.
“This new approach to child care will provide fair access to child care for all Alberta parents and it will make child care more affordable to parents who need it the most. It takes the best elements of the previous pilot program – the supports for inclusivity and the Flight curriculum – and expands them across the whole province. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plan will help parents across our programs in the future.” Korrie-Mae Wiszniak, chief executive officer, Kids@ Churchill Park, Calgary
"The child care subsidy will help us go back to work while providing our child with quality care. It would also mean a lot for us to receive an increase to our subsidy as it would help us provide for our family during these tough times." Ramavartheni Kanthappan, Edmonton parent
With a renewed focus on affordability for those who need it most, the federally funded ELCC Centre pilot program will come to its natural conclusion in March 2021. Phase 1 ELCC Centres (provincially funded) will receive funding until July 31.
Preschools have historically been left out of the spectrum of parental choice in child care. Children’s Services is working with preschool operators and the Minister’s child care working group to recognize the importance of preschools for parents who work part-time or work from home.
COVID-19 response The renewed bilateral agreement also includes $10 million carried over from the previous agreement to be rolled into Phase 3 of Alberta’s child care relief funding that will go to support child care, out-of-school care, and preschools.
Combined with the $19 million the Government of Alberta has already committed in child care relief, total funding support will be almost $30 million.
More information and supports are available on the child care during COVID-19 page.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 109,000 families were enrolled in a licensed or approved child care space in a centre or a day home. That represents 30 per cent of Alberta families with children.
Prior to the pandemic, about 80 per cent of licensed spaces in Alberta were filled.
There are more than 2,900 active licensed/approved programs in Alberta.
In a typical year, more than 28,000 children, or 26 per cent of all children in licensed child care centres and approved family day homes, are supported through child care subsidy – more than 80 per cent (about 23,000) of whom are on full subsidy. Those 23,000 families who are in the greatest financial need will now pay an average of $13 per day for full-time daycare.
When calculated with pre-COVID enrolment and centre fees data, about 16,000 families will be paying $25 per day or less.
Child care subsidy can be accessed by families with an income of up to $75,000, which is the most generous level in the country.
Currently, 36 per cent of child care facilities are unable to care for children with disabilities without access to extra support, so these children are often excluded from child care programs after short trial periods.
The subsidy formula changes will come into effect Aug. 1, and parents will be able to use the new easily accessible application website to determine their eligibility.
Consultation feedback on the Child Care Licensing Act and regulations is currently being reviewed. Led by MLA Tracy Allard, these consultations have been gathering feedback from early childhood educators and parents in order to improve legislation and regulations in the fall.
Summary of child care benefits In addition to child care subsidy, Alberta families may be eligible for the Alberta Child and Family Benefit and other government benefit programs accessed through tax filings. While each family’s exact income and tax situation are different, as an example, a family with a single parent with one toddler would be eligible for these subsidy and tax benefit amounts, at different income levels.
Provincial Press Release July 23, 2020 @ 9:48 am