COVID-19 Updates: Taking steps to return to normal.
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.
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
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
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
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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
Reach out to your local licensing officer or email [email protected] with questions or suggestions.
- Affordability rates chart (December 2021)