Alberta, Ottawa ink $3.8 billion childcare deal to lower cost to average of $10-a-day, create 40,000 new spaces

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Alberta and the federal government have reached a five-year $3.8 billion childcare agreement using the federal funding to create more than 40,000 new childcare and early learning spaces and bring the average cost for children under six down to $10-a-day.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the deal Monday, alongside Premier Jason Kenney and Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould.

“Now, I think people know that the provinces and the federal government don’t always get along on everything. And there’s always going to be points of disagreement. But I am really, really pleased to be here today with Premier Kenney and the Government of Alberta to demonstrate that on the things that matter most to citizen, on the things that matter to the people that we serve, we can get big things done,” Trudeau said.

“That’s exactly what we’ve been able to do here today with Alberta on moving forward with a historic agreement on childcare.”

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Alberta is the ninth jurisdiction to sign a childcare deal with Ottawa. Freeland estimated 60% of Canada’s children are now covered under a deal.

Kenney had previously said that Trudeau’s deal was “only for a kind of cookie-cutter, nine-to-five, urban, government and union-run institutional daycare options” and that the choices of parents need to be recognized.

On Monday, he called the announcement “a good day for Alberta families.”

He said Alberta’s deal will mean more jobs and access to childcare for families.

“All types of licensed childcare for kids aged up to kindergarten like preschools, daycare and licensed family day homes will now be supported through this deal with the federal government,” he said.

“And to ensure that every child has the care that works for them, there’s funding for specific needs, such as linguistic, cultural and special learning supports.”

The 2021 federal budget said Ottawa would authorize the transfer of 2021-22 funding as soon as bilateral agreements are reached.

More to come