Federal-provincial child care agreement
On November 15, 2021, the Alberta and federal governments announced an agreement to reduce child care fees for families with children ages 0 to kindergarten to an average $10 per day fees by 2026. Learn more about this historic agreement.
Child care grant funding guide
Licensed daycare, out-of-school care and preschool programs, as well as licensed family day home agencies can apply for grant funding to support the recruitment, retention and professional development of their certified educators. Available supports include wage top-up, professional development funding and release grant funding, and mandatory employer contribution funding.
Read the Alberta Child Care Grant Funding Guide to see if you are eligible and learn about the process to apply for wage top-up, professional development, release time and mandatory employer contributions funding.
Types of funding
Wage top-up funding
This funding provides licensed child care programs with a wage top-up for certified early childhood educators over and above the base wage paid by the employer. Staff must be paid at least minimum wage before the wage top-up.
Wage top-up funding provides a wage enhancement for certified frontline staff who:
- provide direct child care, including program supervisors and alternate supervisors (as defined in the Early Learning and Child Care Regulation) as well as people hired in the role of family child care consultants or coordinators with a licensed family day home agency
- are certified as an early childhood educator Level 1, 2 or 3
- meet the conditions outlined in the Eligible hours for wage top-up section of the Alberta Child Care Grant Funding Guide.
Table 1. Wage Top-up Rates
Funding is paid monthly up to a maximum of 181 hours at the following rates.
|E childhood educator certification level||Wage Top-up Rates|
|Effective January 2023 claim period|
|Level 1 early childhood educator||$2.64 / hour|
|Level 2 early childhood educator||$5.05 / hour|
|Level 3 early childhood educator||$8.62 / hour|
Table 2. Average Employer Paid Wages Before and After Wage Top-up Funding
|Early childhood educator certification level||Average employer-paid wage (average as of January 2022)||Average wage with wage top-up starting January 2023|
|Level 1 early childhood educator||$16.79||$19.43|
|Level 2 early childhood educator||$18.05||$23.10|
|Level 3 early childhood educator||$19.88||$28.50|
Professional development funding
This funding is provided to licensed child care programs to assist with the costs of approved post-secondary tuition and textbooks, as well as approved conferences or workshops for their eligible educators certified as Level 1, 2, or 3 early childhood educator.
To receive professional development funding, the program is required to submit a Professional Development Funding Request form (PDF, 121 KB).
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Other professional development opportunities are available through ministry-funded organizations.
Professional development funding is intended for certified early childhood educators who are paid employees of licensed child care programs, as well as family day home program educators working under licensed family day home agencies, who:
- provide direct child care, including program supervisors and alternate supervisors (as defined in the Early Learning and Child Care Regulation), as well as people hired in the role of family child care consultants/coordinators with a licensed family day home agency
- are certified as an early childhood educator Level 1, 2 or 3
- are a Canadian citizen or an official Permanent Resident of Canada
- have worked at least 29 hours in at least one month preceding the date of the expenditure or the date the application was received
Table 3. Professional development funding rates (effective September 1, 2021)
|Professional development type||Funding rate per early childhood educator|
|Post secondary courses||Up to $1,500 per year|
|Workshops and conferences||Up to $500 per year|
Release time funding
Release time funding is available to all early childhood educators who are eligible for the professional development funding. This funding allows early childhood educators to be paid while studying, completing post-secondary coursework and/or attending workshops that have been approved for professional development funding. Upon completion of the training, early childhood educators are eligible for release time funding regardless of when training occurs, such as outside of regular working hours. Release time funding is a taxable benefit.
This funding is for early childhood educators who are paid employees of licensed child care programs or family day home program educators working under licensed family day home agencies who:
- are eligible for professional development funding, and
- paid for or enrolled in a post-secondary course, workshop or conference that is approved for professional development funding.
To receive the release time funding, the program is required to submit the Professional Development Funding Request form (PDF, 121 KB).
Table 4. Rate of payment to program per Early Childhood Educator.
|Professional development type||Payment to early childhood educator||Payment to program to offset wage related expenses|
|Post secondary courses||Up to $1,600 per fiscal year (based on $800 per 3-credit course to a maximum of 2 courses)||$60 per course|
|Workshops and conferences||Up to $787.50 per year (based on $17.50 per hour to a maximum of 45 hours)||$1.33 per hour (up to 45 hours)|
Mandatory employer contribution funding
Child care programs that receive wage top-up funding can receive mandatory employer contribution funding to assist the program with making the required payroll contributions and premium payments associated with the wage top-up payments.
The mandatory employer contribution funding is paid at the rate of 9.51% of the wage top-up funding received by the program, approximately representing the program’s Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), and Workers’ Compensation Board (WBC) payroll expenditures related to the wage top-ups.
The program is eligible to receive the mandatory employer contribution funding for each early childhood educator staff member for whom the program receives wage top-up funding, provided that the program also makes CPP contributions and pays EI and WCB premiums for that early childhood educators staff member.
How to apply for funding
Child care programs eligible and interested in receiving the wage top-up, professional development, release time and mandatory employer contribution funding need to sign a grant agreement online in the Child Care Licensing Portal.
Step 1. Review the program guide
Details about eligibility, application process and requirements are included in the Alberta Child Care Grant Funding Guide. Read the guide before applying.
Step 2. Log into the Child Care Licensing Portal account to request, review and sign the grant agreement.
An individual with official signing authority for the child care program must have an account in the Child Care Licensing portal to review and sign the grant agreement.
For instructions on how to create a new account or log into an existing account refer to the Child Care Licensing Portal – Operator Login Guide (PDF, 1.3 MB).
For instructions on how to access and sign the grant agreement for wage top-up and professional development funding refer to the Child Care Licensing Portal– Signing Wage Top-up & PD Grant Agreements (PDF, 880 KB).
After you apply
Grant funding payments
After the grant agreement has been signed, programs will have to submit an online claim after each month to receive wage top-up and mandatory employer contribution funding payments. Find out more about the online child care claims system.
Wage top-ups and the mandatory employer contributions funding will be paid based on the monthly hours claimed by the program.
Professional development and release time funding will be paid based on an approved Professional Development Funding Request as part of the overall child care program deposit when the next monthly claim is processed.
Find out more about the online child care claims system.
Connect with the Alberta Child Care Grant Funding Program:
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