Alberta has reached a child-care deal with the federal government.
Premier Jason Kenney, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, and federal and provincial ministers were at the YMCA Shirley Stollery Childcare in Edmonton on Nov. 15 to announce the details of a child-care agreement which will culminate to $10 a day childcare by 2026.
“This past year and a half has illustrated the challenges that families face and the need for child-care,” Trudeau said. “Child-care is not just a social program; it’s about growing the economy as well.”
The deal will see $3.8 billion in tax dollars funnelled back to the province to fund operating grants, expand subsides to working parents, create new child-care spaces and update the wage grid for early learning and childcare educators.
This means that when the deal is in full force, parents earning up to $119,999 can expect to pay $10 per day on child-care, those making between $120,000 and $179,999 can expect to pay between $11 and $17 per day and parents earning more than $180,000 can expect to pay approximately $22.19 per day.
According to the PM, Ottawa has reached deals with nine provinces and territories.
“I think people know that the provinces and the federal government don’t always get along on everything and there’s always going to be points of disagreement,” Trudeau said. “But I am really, really pleased to be here today with Premier Kenney and the Government of Alberta to demonstrate that on the things that matter most to citizens, on the things that matter to the people we serve, we can get big things done.”
By the end of next year, fees for licensed child-care spaces are set to be cut in half, according to the announcement.
“On average, that is over $5,000 per child, per year, for Alberta families,” said Karina Gould, federal minister of families, children and social development.
Alberta will also see the creation of over 42,000 new licensed, non-profit, day home and child-care spaces over the next five years, as part of the deal.
The announcement highlighted that the deal will create more education and jobs for early learning and child-care employees, as well as allow parents to return to or maintain their employment. There was a large focus on the impact to women and mothers, as well as mention of the significant number of day-care facilities owned and operated by women in the province.
“The province has secured a deal that allows Alberta parents to have the type of child-care that works best for them, which has been a key element of any deal that this government would sign,” Kenney said. “This means that all types of licensed child-care for kids [up to Kindergarten] will now be supported through this deal with the federal government.”
Rebecca Schulz, Alberta's minister of children’s services, said that this deal will especially target rural Alberta, where there are either very few or no options for working parents.
The premier added that there is designated funding for children that require specific care, such as linguistic, cultural and special learning support.
The deal is long-awaited for many Albertans, as delays have been ongoing for more than six months as Kenney continued to bargain with Ottawa.
During the announcement, he said that the long wait is justified by the flexibility of the new deal. Kenney added that private day-home providers were not originally included in the deal, and that with the large amount of them in the province, their inclusion was a necessity.
Another point of contention has also been the federal government’s deal with Quebec – $6 billion to expand access to a pre-existing universal child-care system. Alberta had previously proposed a similar deal and was rejected, according to Trudeau, because the framework in the province was not there.
“I think the basic aspiration of Albertans is to be treated equally – to have the same powers that Quebec exercises – the same treatment from the federal government which includes unconditional funding when there are national policy goals,” Kenney said.
For more information about the Alberta federal-provincial child-care agreement, visit the provincial government's website.