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Alberta’s childcare cost framework puts cost of feeding kids on parents

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McGinn, D.
Publication Date: 
4 Jul 2023


Facing high food costs and the expenses of running a kitchen, the McKernan Child Development Centre closed its food program last September. Parents were told they could pack a lunch and snacks for their kids or pay for a service called the Second Chef that would deliver meals to the centre.


The [Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care] agreement does not specifically mention food, but it does allow for “enhanced services” that “may be provided at an additional fee to parents for services not deemed essential to the delivery of core child care.” Susan Cake, chair of Child Care Now Alberta, an advocacy organization, said that unless the framework is changed, many parents will likely see their fees rise as operators charge for everything above “core services,” as they are currently allowed to do.

“It puts $10 a day at risk. It will be $10 a day of base care,” Dr. Cake said. “And then parents will have the option to opt in to enhancements. The issue with this is that the government money is only going to cover base care.”