If the UCP is re-elected in May, Premier Danielle Smith is committed to $10-a-day child care by 2026.
In 2021, the UCP negotiated an agreement with the federal government to provide families with affordable childcare.
According to a campaign release, the UCP says they are committed to investing $3.8 billion over five years in Alberta’s childcare system. The release states that the childcare agreement has already reduced fees for Alberta parents by half to an average of close to $15-a-day and has created 11,063 new spaces across the province. And parents can look forward to the creation of another 15,500 spaces this year alone.
“Childcare is not a one-size fits-all solution,” Smith said in a release.
“That’s why I’m so proud that our United Conservative government negotiated a deal with the federal government that makes the most sense for Alberta families.
“Our mixed-market childcare system will continue to empower Alberta parents with the choice and flexibility they need to participate in the workforce. We are well on our way to creating 68,700 new childcare spaces at $10-a-day, and today I am committing that a re-elected United Conservative government will continue that work and reach our goals by 2026.”
The province signed on to the federal Liberal government’s $10-a-day child-care program in November 2021. In February of this year, the two governments agreed to the next phase of their funding agreement.
Alberta Children’s Services Minister Mickey Amery was joined by federal colleagues in announcing that 1,600 private spaces would be eligible for funding, with up to 2,000 more as soon as licensing requirements are completed.
He said an additional 22,500 private child-care spaces may become eligible for funding support over the next three years.
But in 2020, the province elected not to renew the first phase of a $25/day pilot program, which was launched in 2017. The Alberta NDP isn’t convinced this new commitment will be delivered as advertised.
“Parents and families pleaded with the UCP not to cancel the affordable $25/day pilot program that existed already in the province. The UCP didn’t listen to Albertans, and it resulted in families paying thousands more per year than they were before,” said Rakhi Pancholi, Alberta NDP candidate for Edmonton-Whitemud.
“Alberta families ultimately forced the UCP into signing a deal with the federal government for federal dollars to reduce child care fees. Alberta was one of the last provinces to sign onto this deal, and the implementation since has been a nightmare for providers who are already dramatically underfunded by Danielle Smith and the UCP.”
– With Files from the Canadian Press