Table of contents

COVID-19 update

Child care operators should continue following applicable COVID guidelines and public health orders issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Updated guidance for fall 2021 is now available for Licensed Child Care Centres and Family Day Homes.

Important child care funding changes

The Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada negotiated a deal  to extend the Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. This will provide Alberta more than $290 million over 4 years to improve access to high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services.

Under this agreement, the Alberta government will direct $45 million to the child care subsidy program and $56 million to the new Early Childhood Workforce Strategy to help attract, train and develop child care educators.

Through the Early Learning Workforce Strategy with the federal government, the Government of Alberta is investing $6.13 million, in addition to the province’s current budget of $114 million, to provide wage top-up grant funding to preschool educators and enhanced professional development funding. Professional development grant rates will now include paid release time and extend funding to certified preschool and family day home educators.

More information about funding initiatives to support educators will be available soon.

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 time grant 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 and release time grant 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.

Eligibility

The wage top-up grant 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 Licensing 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.

Funding rates

Table 1. Funding is paid monthly up to a maximum of 181 hours at the following rates

Early Childhood Educator certification level Average employer-paid wage (average as of September 2020) Wage top-up rate Average wage (with wage top-up)
Level 1 Early Childhood Educator $16.19 $2.14 $18.33
Level 2 Early Childhood Educator $17.30 $4.05 $21.35
Level 3 Early Childhood Educator $18.95 $6.62 $25.57

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, you need to submit a Professional Development Funding Request form (PDF, 121 KB).

PDF form issues

Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:

  1. Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
  2. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.

Eligibility

Professional development grant funding is intended for staff 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

Funding rates

Table 2. 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

Paid Release Time Grant

The Paid Release Time Grant provides licensed child care programs with funding that allows their certified educators to be paid while studying, completing post-secondary coursework, and attending workshops or conferences that have been approved for professional development funding.

The grant will apply only to those courses, workshops and conferences that take place on or after September 1, 2021.

Eligibility

This grant 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 the professional development grant, and
  • paid for or enrolled in a post-secondary course, workshop or conference that is approved for the professional development grant and takes place on or after September 1, 2021.

To receive the paid release time grant, you need to fill out the relevant section in the Professional Development Funding Request form (PDF, 121 KB).

Funding rates

Table 3. 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 $800 per course $60 per course
Workshops and conferences $17.50 per hour (up to 45 hours per year) $1.33 per hour (up to 45 hours)

How to apply

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. Complete the application form

Download to your computer or print the Grant Application for Wage Top-ups and Professional Development (PDF, 104 KB).

Step 3. Send in your application

Save a copy of the grant application form for your records. Then send it using one of the following methods:

  1. Online only – Click the ‘Submit’ button at the bottom of the form after you have completed it.
  2. Online only – Save the completed application to your computer then email it to: [email protected]
  3. Print and mail the application form to:
    Alberta Child Care Grant Funding Program
    Early Childhood Development Branch
    Sterling Place, 9940 106 Street NW
    Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2N2

After you apply

After submitting a grant application, programs will receive written notification confirming their eligibility. If a program has been confirmed as eligible to access funding, a grant agreement will be provided to the program’s authorized representative for review and signature. The funding will be considered approved for a program only when the grant agreement has been signed by both parties.

All programs must sign a Grant Agreement to receive wage top-up and professional development funding.

Grant payments

Wage top-ups will be paid every month based on the hours claimed by the program.

Professional development and release time grants 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.

After the grant agreement has been signed by both parties, programs will have to submit an online claim after each month to receive wage top-up funding and professional development payments.

Find out more about the online child care claims system.

Audits

Every year, the Government of Alberta audits a sample of child care programs that received grant funding. The auditing team identified these top issues for the 2019-20 fiscal year:

  • hours claimed for wage top-up funding are greater than actual
  • wage top-up funding is not transferred to staff
  • funding is not properly identified or accounted for
  • minimum wage not paid to staff before applying the wage top-up funding

Contact

Connect with the Alberta Child Care Grant Funding Program:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-1119
Toll free: 1-800-661-9754
Email: [email protected]

Was this page helpful?

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

Your submissions are monitored by our web team and are used to help improve the experience on Alberta.ca. If you require a response, please go to our Contact page.

You will not receive a reply. Submissions that include telephone numbers, addresses, or emails will be removed.