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Alberta children's service minister aiming to finalize $10-a-day child care spending rules

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Johnson, L.
Publication Date: 
28 Jul 2023


Alberta’s new children and family services minister says one of his first priorities is to pin down spending rules that will structure much of the child-care sector in the province for years.

In her mandate letter to Searle Turton, released Friday, Premier Danielle Smith directs the minister to continue ushering in the federally funded $10-a-day early learning and child-care plan.

Turton told Postmedia in an interview he will be consulting with the sector and parents over the next two months to finalize and implement rules guiding how operators can spend taxpayer dollars under the program.

The cost control framework currently outlines a general formula, but it doesn’t specify all eligible core child-care costs, nor what a “reasonable” profit and surplus might look like.

Those rules will be key to expanding spaces in Alberta, where the majority have been for-profit.


First announced in January, the framework and for-profit expansion plan came after business owners lobbied for months to be included. The announcement meant 1,571 existing private spaces became eligible, and since then another 2,000 new licensed private spaces that opened became eligible.

The goal of the federal plan is to create 68,700 more spaces at an average cost of $10 per day in Alberta by March 2026 — including 42,500 non-profit and 26,200 private.

“I want to do everything in my power to make sure that the agreement continues to move forward, that it’s successful and that parents can feel faith that we are moving towards that 2026 deadline,” said Turton.


Turton will also inherit from his predecessor Mickey Amery the difficult task of trying to better the province’s foster-care system, including reducing the number of moves and disruptions during a child’s time in care.

According to the latest provincial numbers, 14 children and young people in government care or receiving supports died between April 1 and June 30, the first quarter of this fiscal year. Of those, eight were Indigenous.

In 2022-23, there were 50 deaths.


The mandate letter directs Turton to continue work with the federal Indigenous relations minister to help implement legislation protecting the interests of Indigenous children in Alberta.