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Despite concerns, nearly all Alberta child-care operators remain in subsidy program

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98% of centres have signed agreements with the province
Cummings, Madeleine
Publication Date: 
7 Feb 2024


Almost all child-care centres in Alberta have entered or re-entered a program offering subsidized fees to eligible parents, despite concerns from many operators that the program will hurt their businesses.


According to the ministry of children and family services, 98 per cent of centres signed agreements with the province. 

The federally funded program, which aims to offer child care for $10 per day by 2026, limits parents' fees via grants to operators. In Alberta, those operators receive a fixed amount per child plus funding for wage top-ups and professional development for certified early childhood educators.

Chohan said leaving the program would mean parents would be charged much higher fees and her staff would not receive the wage top-ups.


Some operators claimed the grants did not cover the full cost of providing child care and told parents they were considering opting out of the program this year. 

However, the 98 per cent uptake by the deadline is higher than in previous years, said ministry press secretary Ashli Barrett. The government is working through the remaining agreements to determine the final number.

"This is good news for Alberta parents, who will continue to have access to this program, hopefully through the provider that they already have," said Susan Cake, chair of the advocacy group Child Care Now Alberta.


Chohan said the costs of groceries, utilities, educational supplies, field trips and insurance have gone up more than the grant increase.

Operators have also raised concerns about grant funds being paid after each month, instead of at the beginning of the month.

"We always seem to be behind," said Lisa Fletcher, who owns My Happy Place Daycare and Out-of-School Care in Stony Plain.

Fletcher said her centre may have stop offering meals and extended hours because they are not sustainable.

Morgan Elemans said her daughter's child-care centre in Lethbridge also signed the agreement but told parents that, as a result, it will have to cut back on operating hours, craft supplies and substitute staff.