The Alberta government will be signing on to the federal government’s $10-a-day child-care program.
It could see cost reductions to Alberta families by 2026.
A local daycare in Grande Prairie has seen an influx in calls since the announcement Monday.
More names are being added to the waiting list as parents realize quality child care and education would now be more affordable, said Lindsay Campbell, director at Building Blocks Daycare Centre.
“Within five years, $10 a day childcare will be a reality right across the province,” said prime minister Justin Trudeau in Edmonton at the beginning of this week.
He said that by the end of next year, fees will be half of what they are currently.
The reduction will save families about $5,000 per child per year, said Karina Gould, Canada’s minister of families, children and social development.
Meanwhile, Building Block’s Campbell said it is “great our government is catching up with the rest of Canada” and adds the move will allow families not to have to choose between price and quality.”
The agreement with the federals will add at least 42,500 new licensed non-profit and day home childcare spaces, according to the province.
Campbell hopes that the province will look to help expand current facilities as well.
Operating grants and subsided supports via the federal government are meant to be the pillars of deployment of the program.
“There’s still a lot of information that as operators we’re still unclear of,” said Campbell.
Campbell attended a virtual town hall on Monday with Rebecca Schulz, the provincial minister of children’s services, where she learned the program would be a three-tier system based on a family’s income.
“Parents are just excited to see the general monthly costs go down, but like everyone right now, we have questions of exactly what that’s going to look like and exactly when it’s going to be implemented,” said Campbell.
“Childcare is not just a social program; it’s about growing the economy as well,” Trudeau said Monday.
Premier Jason Kenney said the new initiative will ensure more jobs and access for families who rely on them.
“We’re focused on making life more affordable for families and on building a strong economy,” said Trudeau.
The province said it “negotiated $300 million in funding for professional development, training and improved certification levels of the early childhood educator workforce.”
Campbell said that her Grande Prairie facility is heavily staffed, which comes at a considerable cost.
Kenney said that the new agreement brings $3.8 billion of federal taxes back to Alberta to address childcare and early learning.
In late July, the province directed $45 million to lowering childcare costs, with families earning less than $90,000 set to receive $125 per month.
Rakhi Pancholi, NDP children’s service critic, at the time said the province wasn’t going far enough.
The province says that nearly 56 per cent of Alberta child-care spaces are privately run.
Alberta is the ninth province/ territory to make a deal for $10/day childcare with the federal government. Ontario, New Brunswick, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are yet to sign on.
The federal government announced $30 billion over five years, with a minimum of $9.2 billion per year ongoing in April.
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