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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.

Applications now open

Applications for subsidy for families of children 0 to kindergarten age earning up to $180,000 are now open. Parents already receiving subsidy do not need to reapply.

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 0 to kindergarten age (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours) 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 0 to kindergarten age (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours):

  • $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

    If you are a parent of a child 0 to kindergarten age (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours), you will be paying less for licensed child care by January 2022.

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

    • reduce licensed child care fees by an average of 50% for families with children 0 to kindergarten age (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours) (early 2022)
    • lower average licensed child care fees to $10 per day for families with children 0 to kindergarten age (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours) (by 2025 to 2026)
    • 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

We will give grants to child care providers that will lower fees for all parents. And families who make less than $180,000 will be eligible for an additional subsidy to further reduce their child care costs.

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 $1,172 per month. By early 2022, this family can expect to pay an average of $284 per month.

The amount that you will save will vary depending on the fees your child care provider charges. However, grant-receiving providers must commit to helping Alberta ensure families reach an average of $10 per day by the end of 5 years.

Parent information

Additional details will be shared as programs are developed.

  • How fees will be reduced

    In step one of this 4-year plan, all parents of children 0 to kindergarten age (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours) will pay reduced child care fees in 2022. By 2025-26, parents will pay, on average, $10 a day per child.

    Fees will be reduced in 2 ways:

    • providing affordability grants to licensed preschools, daycares and family day homes under a licensed agency for operators to lower child care fees for all parents by a set amount
    • increasing family income thresholds for Child Care Subsidy eligibility criteria so more parents 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

    Families will now benefit from both affordability grants and subsidies and will pay less overall. How much less you pay will depend on the age of your child and your family income. The total amount you will pay will vary depending on the fees your child care provider charges.

    If you are already receiving subsidy, you are already on your way to paying much lower fees. In January, you may find your funding looks a bit different because of the combination of grants and subsidy, but you will still be paying less overall for your licensed child care.

    The combined benefits of affordability grants and subsidies should be considered when estimating your new costs.

  • Affordability grants

    Affordability grants are provided directly to child care operators so they can lower parent fees for all families in their program. Funding is provided for each child based on age range and type of care. Preschool programs have a set rate of $75 per month per child. Parents do not need to apply to benefit from this fee reduction.

    Child care type Infant (under 19 months) Toddler (19 months to under 3 years) Preschool age (3 years to kindergarten)
    Daycare – full time $635 $510 $450
    Daycare – part time $317.50 $255 $225
    Daycare – overnight full time $952.50 $765 $675
    Daycare – overnight part time $476.25 $382.50 $337.50
    Family day home – full time $350 $325 $300
    Family day home – part time $175 $162.50 $150
    Family day home – overnight full time $525 $487.50 $450
    Family day home – overnight part time $262.50 $243.75 $225
  • Subsidy rates

    Parents with a family income under $180,000 a year will also benefit from subsidies to further reduce child care fees based on the income thresholds below.

    Applications for subsidy are now open.

    • If you already receive subsidy, you do not need to reapply.
    • If you are not currently receiving subsidy, your child is 0 to kindergarten age (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours) and your family income is under $180,000 a year, you can apply now.

    Apply for the Child Care Subsidy

    If you are already receiving subsidy, you are already on your way to paying much lower fees. In January, you may find your funding looks a bit different because of the combination of grants and subsidy, but you will still be paying less overall for your licensed child care.

    Subsidy rates and eligibility criteria for children in kindergarten to Grade 6 enrolled in a licensed program outside of regular school hours are not changing.

    Income ($) Full-time rate
    (100+ hours)
    Licensed
    preschool rate
    0 to 119,999 $266 Flat rate of $125/month (all income brackets)
    120,000 to 124,999 $253
    125,000 to 129,999 $239
    $130,000 to $134,999 $226
    $135,000 to $139,999 $213
    $140,000 to $144,999 $200
    $145,000 to $149,999 $186
    $150,000 to $154,999 $173
    $155,000 to $159,999 $160
    $160,000 to $164,999 $146
    $165,000 to $169,999 $133
    $170,000 to $174,999 $120
    $175,000 to $179,999 $106

    Part time rates are prorated based on hours (80 hours = 80% of the full time rate)

  • Finding child care with reduced fees

    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

    For more information, contact Child Care Connect at 1‑844‑644-5165 (toll free) or each out to your local Children's Services office.

Operator information

  • Affordability grants

    • Affordability grants must be used to reduce parent fees.
    • Grant recipients must also 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 (2025-26).

    Eligibility

    • Licensed child care programs such as preschools, daycares and family day homes under licensed agencies that provide care to infants, toddlers and kindergarten age children (in kindergarten and also attending child care during regular school hours).

    How grants are calculated

    • The amount of the affordability grant was 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.
    • Learn more: Affordability rates chart (December 2021)

    More details on the affordability grants and application process will be shared 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. 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 family day home educator with a licensed agency

    Family day home educators who operate under an agreement with a licensed 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 certified early childhood educators.

    • 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

    Alberta provides wage top ups to certified early childhood educators to help programs 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

    Reach out to your local licensing officer or email [email protected] with questions or suggestions.

Resources