Tue. May 24th, 2022

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Alberta and the federal government have agreed to bring the average cost of child care for children under six down to $ 10 a day by the end of 2026.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the $ 3.8 billion five-year deal – which is purely federal funding – on Monday in Edmonton along with Prime Minister Jason Kenney, Minister for Child Services Rebecca Schulz and Federal Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould.

Under the agreement, more than 40,000 new non-profit childcare and early learning spaces will be created in the province.

“Now I think people know that the provinces and the federal government do not always come together on everything. And there will always be disagreements,” Trudeau said. “But I’m really, really happy to be here today with Prime Kenney and the government of Alberta to demonstrate that with the things that matter most to the citizens, on the things that matter to the people we serve, we can get great things done. . “

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

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The agreement also means that Alberta will see a 50 percent reduction in the average parental fee for children under the age of six in regulated child care by the end of 2022 before hitting the $ 10-a-day mark in 2026.

Schulz said costs in Alberta will be reduced through subsidies directly to operators, as well as an expansion of the province’s subsidy system in the first two years for families with a household income of up to $ 180,000 a year.

Schulz’s press secretary, Becca Polak, said Monday that Alberta parents currently spend, on average, close to $ 1,000 a month on child care.

The province is the ninth jurisdiction to sign a childcare agreement with Ottawa as part of a $ 30 billion five-year pledge announced in the April federal budget.

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Freeland estimates that 60 percent of Canada’s children are now covered by some version of an agreement.

Kenney said the Alberta agreement would mean more jobs and access to child care for families.

“All types of licensed child care for children aged up to kindergarten, such as kindergartens, day care centers and licensed family day care centers will now be supported through this agreement with the federal government,” he said.

“And to ensure that every child has the care that works for them, there is funding for specific needs, such as language, cultural and special learning aids.”

The premiere defended waiting months to sign an agreement, claiming the province was able to get “more flexibility” for parents.

“This province is different. One of the ways it is different is that we have by far the largest percentage of childcare places offered by private operators.… We did not want to exclude all these parents,” he said.

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But other provinces have a comparable mix of private and non-profit operators and have reached similar agreements with Ottawa, said NDP opposition child services critic Rakhi Pancholi, who calls the government’s argument a “red herring.”

“The federal announcement was always clear that funding could go to for-profit and non-profit providers, provided they are licensed,” Pancholi said, adding that the deal is similar to the one the NDP first proposed four months ago.

“It was always on the table … it was just a stopper tactic that this government used,” Pancholi said.

Pancholi estimated that the delay cost families $ 3,094 based on what they could have saved in average childcare fees while waiting.

“This will be a big boost for our province, and it could have happened months ago,” she said.

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While both federal and provincial representatives trumpeted that the two sides could work together, that did not stop Kenney and Trudeau from taking care of each other while sharing the stage.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) and Alberta Awards Jason Kenney kick off the elbows during a joint federal-provincial announcement of $ 10-a-day day care at Boyle Street Plaza in Edmonton, Monday, November 15, 2021.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) and Alberta Awards Jason Kenney kick off the elbows during a joint federal-provincial announcement of $ 10-a-day day care at Boyle Street Plaza in Edmonton, Monday, November 15, 2021. Photo by Ian Kucerak /Postmedia

Kenney, who previously said Trudeau’s deal was “only for a kind of cookie, nine-to-five, city, government and union-run institutional daycare,” reiterated that Alberta would have preferred a deal without ties, similar to what was given to Quebec but decided not to leave nearly $ 4 billion on the table.

“But in the end, it’s not the only time we see what appears to be a two-tiered alliance. And I think Albertan’s fundamental desire is to be treated equally in order to have the same powers as “Quebec is exercising, and the same treatment from the federal government, which includes unconditional funding,” he said.

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Trudeau responded that Quebec already has $ 8.50 a day child care.

“It’s not treating one province differently. If Alberta already had childcare $ 8 a day across the province, we would have had an approach similar to Quebec,” he said.

“So let’s not create constitutional conventions out of this. It’s about looking at what families have, what families need, and how we get to $ 10-a-day childcare across the country, and that’s exactly what we did. “

The federal budget for April said Ottawa would approve the transfer of 2021-2022 funds as soon as bilateral agreements are reached.


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