Eligibility cutoff for Alberta child care subsidy raised to $90K per household

Alberta is raising the income cutoff to allow more parents to qualify for a daycare subsidy.

Starting Sept. 1, families earning a household income of up to $90,000 will be eligible to receive a child care subsidy, Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz announced on Monday.

The eligibility threshold had been $75,000. The province says the change will allow 12,000 more parents to qualify to receive a $125 per month subsidy to assist with child care costs.

The province plans to direct $4.25 million of the new funding to support families with children attending licensed preschools.  

Previously, subsidies were available only for licensed daycare, family day home and out-of-school care programs.

The province is also earmarking $4 million to give wage top-ups to about 1,300 certified early childhood educators working in licensed preschools.

“These investments are targeted, based on what we heard Albertans need, and are the next step in our longer-term strategy to support the choices parents are making,” Schultz said in a release.

The province is paying for the subsidy boost with $45 million in federal funding, which was included in an announcement on Friday of an extension of the existing Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

Overall, the renewed deal will see Ottawa contribute $290 million over four years to promote access to affordable child care in Alberta.

$10-a-day child-care negotiations ongoing 

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced in the April budget that her government was prepared to spend $30 billion over five years to set up a national daycare program aimed at bringing the costs paid by families to $10 a day. 

Since then, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Yukon have signed agreements with Ottawa.

However, talks between the federal government and Alberta formally began just last week after the province received a term sheet from Ottawa that sets out the conditions for formal negotiations. 

Schultz reiterated on Monday that the UCP government is trying to secure a deal with Ottawa that recognizes Alberta has a mixed model of for-profit and not-for-profit daycare.

“I am happy to say that we are at the table, we are ready to negotiate and, again, we’re just looking for similar flexibility that other provinces are looking for as well,” she said. 

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