Trudeau in Edmonton Monday to announce childcare deal between Alberta and Ottawa

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Edmonton Monday to announce details of a childcare agreement reached between Alberta and the federal government.

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Trudeau, along with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould, Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta’s Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz will take part in the announcement at 10:30 a.m., said an Alberta government news release issued Sunday.

When he announced Canada’s 2021 budget in April, Trudeau promised approximately $30 billion over the next five years to reach an average of $10-a-day childcare for children under six in regulated spaces across the country by 2026.

The plan includes a promise to start by reducing the fees by 50 per cent on average by the end of 2022.

Alberta would become the ninth jurisdiction to ink a deal with Ottawa. The governments in New Brunswick, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have yet to come to an agreement.

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It’s unclear how much money is being provided to Alberta and how many new spaces that would create.

Schulz had been pushing Ottawa for a straight transfer of childcare dollars with no conditions attached, similar to the deal that was provided to Quebec.

However, Quebec already spends billions of dollars a year on its own subsidized program where parents pay $8.50 per day at public childcare centres, according to its government. By comparison,the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimates  the median cost for a toddler’s childcare in Edmonton in 2020 was $950 a month.

Kenney has 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.

The Alberta NDP Opposition has been calling on the UCP government to sign a deal, estimating that Alberta is entitled to $3.8 billion from the federal government based on the size and age of the province’s population.

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

— With files from Lisa Johnson

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