More support to help relaunch child care sector (video)
Provincial Press Release September 22, 2020 @ 9:21AM published at 9:30AM
Licensed child care programs will receive $87 million in new funding as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and the federal Safe Restart agreement.
Child care centres, preschools and approved family day homes play an important role in Alberta’a economic relaunch and will use this funding to continue to keep children and staff safe.
“The availability of affordable, high-quality and flexible child care will be key to ensuring Canadian parents can return to work and our economy can recover from this crisis. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the child care sector to ensure all Canadian families will have access to the quality child care they need.” Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“We are pleased to see Albertans’ contributions coming back to our province through this agreement with the federal government. This funding will ensure safe, reliable child care continues to be available as it is a crucial part of Alberta’s economic recovery. We are providing support to child care and early learning programs throughout the fall so they can keep their centres safe for kids in their care.” Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services
Licensed day care, out-of-school care, family day homes, group family child care, innovative child care and preschool programs will benefit from grant payments.
$15 million already provided in September ($109 per licensed/approved space).
The Safe Restart Agreement payments will be distributed on Oct. 15 and Nov. 15 ($200 per licensed/approved space, plus $2,500 per licensed program or approved agency, each month).
“As a child care provider for 31 years, I can say that COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges to our centre, such as low enrolment and staffing, which has led to significant financial hurdles. The safety of our children, our families and our staff is our top priority and this funding will be valuable in keeping our environments safe for our families and educators.” Amelyn Harke, executive director, Canada Place Child Care Society
“Due to COVID-19, the past months have posed many challenges for child care providers. CPCCS has worked diligently to ensure all health guidelines have been properly implemented and followed. As more children return to our centre, this additional funding will be greatly beneficial in helping us maintain a healthy and safe environment for children and staff.” Chantal Boulianne, parent and board president, Canada Place Child Care Society
These grants will help operators purchase additional cleaning supplies, safety equipment, and any other upgrades necessary to comply with health guidelines without increasing parent fees. Centres will have to be open after receiving the October payment to receive November’s grant payment. Of the $85 million in total funding, $72 million will come from the federal government’s Safe Restart Funding agreement, $8.2 million from the bilateral agreement and the remaining $6.9 million from Phase 3 of the Child Care Relief program. In May, the province announced the Child Care Relief program, providing $17.8 million to ensure child care centres are ready to safely restart and support families through Alberta’s economic recovery.
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 children were enrolled in a licensed child care program or approved day home. That represents 15 per cent of Alberta children.
Prior to the pandemic, about 80 per cent of licensed spaces in Alberta were filled.
As of Sept. 11, there are 2,370 daycares, out-of-school care and preschools open (83 per cent) with 96,535 spaces available. A total of 50,202 children have enrolled, representing an overall enrolment rate of 52 per cent.
There are more than 2,900 active licensed/approved programs in Alberta, employing 18,000 Albertans.
A new child care subsidy model began on Aug. 1. This improved model for calculating subsidy provides more financial support for families and makes it easier to apply, with predictable and gradual decreases in support as income climbs.
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. About 23,000 of these children are on full subsidy and will now benefit from an 18 per cent increase to their monthly subsidy support.
With the new simplified child care subsidy model, calculated with pre-COVID enrolment and program fees data, an estimated 16,000 low-income families will pay less than $25 per day in child care fees. Some families will pay as low as $13 per day.
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.
Consultation feedback on the Child Care Licensing Act and regulations is currently being reviewed. These consultations gathered feedback in order to improve legislation and regulations in the fall.