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Changes in child care

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Coming into effect February 1, 2021 under the new Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulation
Government of Alberta
Publication Date: 
1 Feb 2021

Excerpts from introduction

Parents and families across Alberta rely on child care providers every day to support the growth and development of their children. Licensed child care providers and certified early childhood educators help children build skills that support their growth and overall health. Child care providers play an essential role in Alberta’s economy. When parents and caregivers go to work or school, they need to know their children are safe and are provided with the resources they need to grow and thrive.

The new legislation and regulations will give operators and educators the tools and flexibility to do what they do best, meet the needs of families in their communities. The Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulation improve the standard for quality and safety in licensed programs, provide more information and transparency for parents and caregivers, streamline and modernize licensing processes, and give licensed providers more time to support children.

These changes are based on feedback from over 10,000 Albertans who participated in the first child care consultation since 2008, as well as feedback received from the sector over the last decade.

“We’ve worked with child care operators and educators to improve the standard of care for children and create a more modern and flexible approach to child care programs. For operators, this means less time on paperwork and more time with kids and families. And for parents and caregivers, it means peace of mind.”  

- Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services

Quality in child care

The updated Act embeds principles of quality and matters to be considered into the law, which means that licensed child care programs must reflect these in their operations and daily programming.


The Early Learning and Child Care Act identifies the following three principles to guide its interpretation and application in all areas relating to the licensing of child care programs:

  1. The safety, security, well being and development of the child is to be supported and preserved.
  2. Flexibility in child care supports choice and accessibility for families.
  3. Engagement of parents and community members in the provision of child care supports the child’s optimal development.