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Federal-provincial child care agreement

Overview

Expands accessible, affordable and high-quality child care to give Alberta families the choice they need.

Overview

We have successfully negotiated an agreement with the federal government that will support the expansion of accessible, affordable and high-quality child care that gives families the choice they need. This made-in-Alberta plan also reduces fees for parents of children not yet in kindergarten by an average of half beginning in January 2022, to an average of $10 per day child care by 2026.

Through the agreement, $3.8 billion will be invested in child care for children not yet in kindergarten:

  • $2.865 billion to lower child care fees for Alberta parents
  • $240.64 million to increase the number of child care spaces
  • $202.6 million to develop and fund child care options to support vulnerable and diverse populations, as well as children with extra needs
  • $306.16 million to support licensed programs and certified educators in offering high-quality support for families in their communities

Key features of the plan

  • Icon of a piggybank
    Improving affordability

    Over the next 5 years of the agreement, we will:

    • reduce licensed child care fees by an average of 50% for families with children not yet in kindergarten in early 2022
    • lower average licensed child care fees to $10 per day by 2025-26 for families with children not yet in kindergarten
    • increase support for parents, child care operators and staff
  • Icon of a family
    Expanding child care accessibility

    To ensure families can choose the child care that works best for them, we will:

    • add at least 42,500 new licensed child care spaces over the next 5 years
    • support licensed child care – preschools, daycare and family day homes under a licensed agency
    • ensure flexibility for families requiring drop-in or overnight child care
    • support children with specific learning, linguistic, cultural and other needs
  • Icon of a hand holding a book
    Supporting high-quality child care

    Quality care starts with quality educators. The agreement provides funds for:

    • professional development, training and improved certification levels for our early childhood educator workforce
    • continued wage tops for child care educators – among the highest in Canada

What this means for parents

Parents will see reduced fees starting in early 2022, and can expect to pay an average of:

  • $10 per day if they earn up to $119,999
  • $11 to $17 per day if they earn between $120,000 and $179,999
  • $22.19 per day if they earn $180,000 and above

For example: A family earning $120,000 with an infant attending a licensed facility-based centre full-time currently pays on average $1172 per month. By early 2022, this family can expect to pay an average of $284 per month.

Parent information

Additional details will be shared as programs are developed.

  • How fees will be reduced

    Starting in 2022, child care fees for children not yet in kindergarten will be reduced in 2 ways:

    • providing operating grants to licensed preschools, daycares and family day homes under a licensed agency so operators can lower child care fees
    • increasing thresholds for Child Care Subsidy eligibility criteria so more families benefit:
      • full subsidy if gross household income is up to $119,999
      • partial subsidy if gross household income is from $120,000 to $179,999
      • preschool (part-time) flat rate of $125 per month for families earning up to $180,000

    Subsidy applications under the new income thresholds will open in mid-January 2022. We expect a high volume of applications, which may result in longer processing times.

    Subsidy rates and eligibility criteria for school-aged children in kindergarten to grade 6 are not changing.

  • Maximum subsidy rates

    The following table outlines maximum subsidy rates by gross household income for children not yet in kindergarten attending a licensed daycare centre for 100 hours or more per month.

    Income ($) Max Subsidy (%) Monthly subsidy rates
    0 to 119,999 100% $266
    120,000 to 124,999 95% $253
    125,000 to 129,999 90% $239
    $130,000 to $134,999 85% $226
    $135,000 to $139,999 80% $213
    $140,000 to $144,999 75% $200
    $145,000 to $149,999 70% $186
    $150,000 to $154,999 65% $173
    $155,000 to $159,999 60% $160
    $160,000 to $164,999 55% $146
    $165,000 to $169,999 50% $133
    $170,000 to $174,999 45% $120
    $175,000 to $179,999 40% $106
  • Finding child care with reduced fees

    In addition to the subsidy, all currently licensed child care programs that support children not yet in kindergarten will be eligible to receive an operational grant so they can reduce fees for parents.

    To find licensed child care in your community:

    Did you know? We are working to add at least 42,500 new licensed child care spaces across Alberta over the next 5 years.

  • Additional information

Operator information

  • Operating grants

    • Operating grants help cover the day-to-day costs of running a licensed child care facility and must be used to reduce parent fees.
    • Grant recipients must commit to working with the government to ensure fees for all families reach an average of $10 per day by the end of 5 years.

    Eligibility

    • Licensed child care programs such as preschools, daycares and family day homes under licensed agencies that provide care to infants, toddlers and preschool aged children.

    How grants are calculated

    • Operating grants were calculated using average program fees across the province, per space per month, based on the type of child care and the age group.
    • Infant spaces (under 19 months) will receive the highest grant rates given the low staff to child ratio and additional costs of operating spaces for this age group.
    • Operating grant rates:
      • Infant (daycare) - $635
      • Toddler (daycare) - $510
      • Preschool-age (daycare) - $450
      • Preschool-age (preschool) - $75

    More details on the operating grants and application process will be available in the near future.

  • Creating new child care spaces

    Our focus is on building capacity in licensed not-for-profit and home-based child care:

    • 10,000 not-for-profit licensed spaces will be created starting in 2022-23
    • 42,500 total new not-for-profit licensed spaces will be created over the next 5 years, in addition to private spaces

    Licensed family day homes will play an important role in improving access to child care. We will work with agencies to find ways to eliminate barriers for unlicensed providers to become part of the licensed system.

    More information will be shared once a plan has been developed.

  • Become a licensed day home provider

    Family day home providers licensed under an agency have access to training, resources and assistance. To find out how you can become a licensed family day home educator:

  • Workforce training and development

    Funding will be provided to bolster professional development and training for early childhood educators and support staff.

    • This includes paid wages for education and training, and/or pay for to offset the costs to operators and increase staff’s ability to participate.
    • Funding will also be used to increase certification levels for early childhood educators.

    Wage top-ups

    Having one of the highest wage top-ups for early childhood educators in Canada means that we can recruit and retain the best educators. Approximately 15,000 early childhood educators receive wage top-ups.

    Wage top-ups vary by early childhood educators certification level:

    • Level 3: $6.62 per hour on top of their employer paid wage
    • Level 2: $4.05 per hour on top of their employer paid wage
    • Level 1: $2.14 per hour on top of their employer paid wage

    We are expanding the eligible hours to claim wage top-up to include planning and administrative time.

    The agreement includes a commitment to explore the possibility of increases to our wage top-up program and other benefit considerations over the next year.

  • Additional information