Improving child care

The Child Care Licensing (Early Learning and Child Care) Amendment Act (Bill 39) would provide more clarity and transparency for parents, early childhood educators and child care providers.

Status: Bill 39 received royal ascent on December 9, 2020
Ministry responsible: Children’s Services


Bill 39: the Child Care Licensing (Early Learning and Child Care) Amendment Act updates legislation and regulations to improve the overall standard of care in Alberta, putting the safety, well-being and development of children first.

Changes under Bill 39 increase transparency and give parents access to the information they need to help them choose the best child care option for their family. Changes also reduce red tape for providers and give them more flexibility so they have more time to spend with children.

Amendments incorporate feedback received from parents and caregivers, early childhood educators, child care operators, stakeholders and licensing staff during the first child care consultation in Alberta in more than a decade.

Key changes

Increase quality and safety

  • Adds new guiding principles and matters to be considered directly into legislation, setting the mandatory expectation for quality and safety in licensed programs, which will assure parents as they are making choices in child care for their family.
  • Implements risk-based licensing so licensing teams can focus more time on programs needing support and provides more flexibility for high performing programs.

Increased transparency for parents

  • Requires licensed programs to notify parents of any issues related to their licence
  • Enables Children’s Services to disclose whether any stop orders have been issued against an unlicensed provider within 24 months.

New online resources for parents are being developed so parents can make informed child care decisions, as well as a toolkit for unlicensed home-based providers to help answer questions they may have and outline the supports they can access.

Reduce red tape

  • Establishes 2 different types of licensed child care (facility-based and home-based) programs, down from 5 types.
  • Supports licence applicants earlier in the process.
  • Streamlines the application process for established providers opening new programs.

More flexibility for providers

  • Allows child care providers to offer 24- hour a day child care under additional standards to ensure this is done safely.
  • Allows centres more flexibility to mix children of different age groups together.
  • Reduces red tape with practical updates that give more flexibility to child care providers.

Modernize child care

  • Allows digital record-keeping so operators and educators can spend less time managing paperwork, and more time supporting children and families in their communities.
  • Changes the name of the Act and regulation to emphasize the importance of early childhood learning and development in licensed child care settings.
  • Updates and simplifies language, terminology and best practices to align with current standards and expectations.

Next steps

Changes under Bill 39 will take effect on February 1, 2021.