Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement - 2020-2021
On this page
- Vision for Early Learning Child Care
- Early Learning and Child Care objectives and areas of investment
- Period of agreement
- Financial provisions
- Planning and reporting
- Long-term collaboration
- Dispute resolution
- Equality of treatment
- Amendments to the agreement
- Annex 1: Multilateral Early Learning And Child Care Framework
- Annex 2: Alberta’s action plan
Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada as represented by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada (“Canada”) styled as the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (herein referred to as “the federal Minister”)
Her Majesty the Queen in right of Alberta as represented by the Minister of Children’s Services (“Alberta”)
Referred to individually as the “Party” and collectively as the “Parties”
Whereas Alberta is responsible for the design and delivery of early learning and child care systems pursuant to the Child Care Licensing Act and the Child Care Licensing Regulation;
Whereas, Canada and Alberta signed a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, as set out in Annex 1, on June 12, 2017 which articulated their shared vision for early learning and child care and describes their approach to achieve this vision (“Framework”);
Whereas, the Parties have entered into this Agreement for the purposes of outlining the provision, use and reporting of funding provided by Canada to Alberta for use in implementing the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework;
Whereas, the Department of Employment and Social Development Act authorizes the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada to enter into agreements with the provinces and territories, for the purpose of facilitating the formulation, coordination and implementation of any program or policy within the mandate of the federal Minister;
Whereas, the Government Organization Act authorizes the Minister of Children’s Services to enter into agreements with Canada under which Canada undertakes to provide funding toward costs incurred by Alberta for the provision of early learning and child care programs and services with consideration for those most in need;
Whereas, Canada has, pursuant to its Policy on Transfer Payments, established a transfer payment program to provide funds to the provincial and territorial governments for the development and delivery of regulated early learning and child care programs and services for children under six years of age with consideration for families more in need;
Whereas, Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council jointly released the co-developed Indigenous ELCC Framework in September 2018; and
Whereas, Alberta will continue to work to support the achievement of positive early childhood outcomes related to Indigenous children and families within the context of their jurisdictional responsibilities.
Now therefore, Canada and Alberta agree as follows:
1.0 Vision for Early Learning and Child Care
1.1 Canada and Alberta agree that the investment of funds provided under this Agreement will be consistent with the vision, principles and objectives for early learning and child care, which are set out in the Framework.
2.0 Early Learning and Child Care objectives and areas of investment
2.1.1 Alberta is responsible for planning, determining the objectives of, defining the contents of, setting the priorities for and evaluating their programs in early learning and child care.
2.1.2 Canada and Alberta agree that over the period of this Agreement, with financial support from Canada, Alberta will address local, regional and program priorities with consideration for those families more in need by increasing the affordability, accessibility, quality and inclusivity of early learning and child care and by promoting, defining and delivering innovative approaches. The Action Plan, attached as Annex 2, aims achieving the objectives of:
- developing and implementing innovative approaches to address early learning and child care challenges in the areas of access, affordability, flexibility, quality and inclusiveness
Alberta’s objectives are set out in the Action Plan attached as Annex 2. Canada and Alberta agree that the funds provided under this agreement will be used to support this Action Plan and will follow the intent of the Framework.
2.2 Eligible areas of investment
2.2.1 Alberta agrees to prioritize funds provided by Canada under this Agreement in regulated early learning and child care programs and services for children under the age of six where:
- Regulated programs and services are defined as those that meet standards that are established and/or monitored by Alberta
- early learning and child care programs and services are defined as those supporting direct care and early learning for children in settings including, but not limited to, regulated child care centres, regulated family child care homes, early learning centres, preschools and nursery schools
2.2.2 Types of investments, though not limited to, include:
- capital and operating funding for inclusive regulated early learning and child care
- fee subsidies, training, professional development and support for the early childhood workforce
- quality assurance
- parents information and referral
- evaluation costs; and
- administration costs incurred by Alberta in implementing and administering this Agreement
2.2.3 Canada and Alberta agree that funding will be targeted to improve quality, accessibility and affordability for children under the age of six, with consideration for those families more in need such as lower-income families, Indigenous families, lone-parent families, families in underserved communities, and/or families with children with varying abilities.
2.2.4 In developing and delivering its programs and services in early learning and child care, Alberta agrees to take into account the needs of official language minority communities in Alberta.
2.2.5 Alberta may allocate funding under this agreement to support measures in 2020-2021 to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on Alberta’s ELCC system. These measures must be aligned with the principles of the Multilateral ELCC Framework and be used to sustain ELCC programs and services.
3.0 Period of agreement
3.1 The Agreement, once signed by both Parties, shall be in effect from April 1, 2017 and will remain in effect until March 31, 2020, unless terminated earlier in accordance with section 11 of this Agreement (the “Term”). Funding provided under this Agreement, in accordance with section 4, will cover the Term. Amendments to the agreement, once signed by both parties, shall be in effect from April 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until March 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier in accordance with section 11 of this Agreement. Funding provided under this amended Agreement, in accordance with section 4, will cover the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
3.2 Renewal of Bilateral Agreements
3.2.1 Canada commits that the annual allocation for the period 2021-22 to 2027-28 will be no less than the annual allocation identified in section 4.2.2 of this Agreement. Funding for future years will be provided upon the mutually agreed renewal of bilateral agreements and Alberta and Canada’s agreement on new action plans and informed by the results achieved under the action plan set out in Annex 2.
3.2.2 The renewal process will provide Alberta and Canada the opportunity to review, and if necessary, reassess priorities based on emerging local and regional early learning and child care priorities and on progress made to date.
3.2.3 In the event this bilateral agreement is renewed in accordance with the terms of section 3.2.1, Alberta may continue to use funding provided thereunder to cover the same eligible areas of investment as those covered through funding received for the period 2020-2021 subject to the terms and conditions of that renewed agreement.
4.0 Financial provisions
4.1 The Parties acknowledge and agree that funding under this Agreement is in addition to and not in lieu of other funding that Canada currently pays to Alberta through the Canada Social Transfer in order to support early childhood development and early learning and child care within Alberta.
4.2 Allocation to Alberta
4.2.1 In this Agreement, “Fiscal Year” means the period commencing on April 1 of any calendar year and terminating on March 31 of the immediately following calendar year.
4.2.2 Canada has designated the following maximum amounts to be transferred in total to all provinces and territories under this initiative with a fixed base rate of $2 million per year for each province and territory and the balance of the funding on a per capita basis for the period starting on April 1, 2017 and ending on March 31, 2021.
- $399,669,692 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2017
- $399,347,695 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2018
- $399,347,695 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2019
- $399,347,694 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2020
4.2.3 Subject to annual adjustment based on the formula described in section 4.2.3, Alberta’s estimated share of the amounts described in section 4.2.1 will be:
|Fiscal year||Estimated total amount to be paid to Albertaa
(subject to annual adjustment)
- a Amount represents annual estimates based on Statistics Canada population estimates
Canada commits that the annual allocation for the period 2021-22 to 2027-28 will be no less than the annual allocation of this current agreement under the conditions set in section 3.2.1.
4.2.4 The final yearly amount to be paid to provinces and territories will be calculated using the following formula F x K/L, where:
F is the annual total funding amount transferred to Alberta minus the base funding provided
K is the total population of Alberta, as determined using annual population estimates from Statistics Canada
L is the total population of Canada, as determined using annual population estimates from Statistics Canada
4.2.5 For the purposes of the formula in section 4.2.4, the population of Alberta for each Fiscal Year and the total population of all provinces and territories for that Fiscal Year are the respective populations as determined on the basis of the quarterly preliminary estimates of the respective populations on July 1 of that Fiscal Year released in September of that Fiscal Year by Statistics Canada.
Canada’s contribution will be paid in approximately equal semi-annual installments as follows:
The total payment for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 will be paid within 30 days after the signatures from both parties are affixed to the Agreement.
In 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, the first installment will be paid on or about June 15 of each Fiscal Year. In 2020-21, the first installment will be paid within 30 days after the signatures from both parties are affixed to the Agreement. The second installment will be paid on or about November 15 of each Fiscal Year.
The amount of the first installment will be equal to 50% of the value set out in Article 4.2.3 as adjusted by Article 4.2.4.
The residual amount payable by Canada to Alberta as set out in Article 4.2.4 and adjusted pursuant to 4.2.5 will be paid as the second installment.
If Alberta fails to provide its annual audited financial statement for the previous Fiscal Year in accordance with section 5.2.1 (c), Canada may withhold payment of its second installment for the Fiscal Year until such time as the annual audited statement is provided.
Canada will notify Alberta at the beginning of the Fiscal Year of their notional amount. The notional amount will be based on the Statistics Canada quarterly preliminary population estimates on July 1 of the preceding Fiscal Year. Canada will notify Alberta of the actual amount of the second installment in each Fiscal Year as determined under the formula set out in section 4.2.4 as soon as possible following the release in September of each year of the Statistics Canada quarterly preliminary population estimates referred to in section 4.2.5.
Payment of Canada’s funding for each fiscal year of this Agreement is subject to an annual appropriation by the Parliament of Canada for this purpose. If federal funding is reduced by the Parliament of Canada, Alberta’s commitments will be adjusted accordingly.
4.4 Carry Forward
4.4.1 At the request of Alberta and on the approval of Canada’s Treasury Board, Alberta may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2018-2019, an amount of up to 50% of the contribution paid to Alberta for 2017-2018 under section 4.2.3 that is in excess of the amount of eligible costs actually incurred by Alberta in that Fiscal Year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2018-2019 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 incurred in that Fiscal Year.
4.4.2 For greater certainty, the amount carried forward to Fiscal Year 2018-2019 under this section is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Alberta under section 4.2.3 of this Agreement in 2018-2019.
4.4.3 The amount carried forward pursuant to section 4.4.2 must be spent by March 31, 2019. Alberta is not entitled to retain any such carried forward amounts that remain unexpended after March 31, 2019, nor is it entitled to retain any balance of Canada’s contribution for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 paid pursuant to section 4.2.3 that remains unexpended at the end of that Fiscal Year. Such amounts are to be repaid to Canada in accordance with section 4.6.
4.4.4 At the request of Alberta and subject to the approval of Canada’s Treasury Board, Alberta may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2019-2020, an amount of up to 10% of the contribution paid to Alberta for 2018-2019 under section 4.2.3 that is in excess of the amount of eligible costs actually incurred by Alberta in that Fiscal Year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2019-2020 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 incurred in that Fiscal Year.
4.4.5 At the request of Alberta and subject to the approval of Canada’s Treasury Board, Alberta may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2020-2021, an amount of up to 25% of the contribution paid to Alberta for 2019-2020 under section 4.2.3 that is in excess of the amount of eligible costs actually incurred by Alberta in that fiscal year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2020-2021 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 incurred in that fiscal year.
4.4.6 For greater certainty, the amount carried forward to Fiscal Year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 under this section is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Alberta under section 4.2.3 of this Agreement in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
4.4.7 The amount carried forward pursuant to sections 4.4.4 and 4.4.5 must be spent by March 31 of the subsequent fiscal year. Alberta is not entitled to retain any such carried forward amounts that remain unexpended after March 31 of the subsequent fiscal year, nor is it entitled to retain any balance of Canada’s contribution for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 paid pursuant to section 4.2.3 that remains unexpended at the end of that fiscal year. Such amounts are to be repaid to Canada in accordance with section 4.6.
4.4.8 In the event that this amendment is approved after March 31, 2020, the parties agree that it is in addition to the April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020 agreement and has effect from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021. As such, carry forward provisions still apply.
4.5 Maximum annual contribution in respect of administration costs
4.5.1 Canada’s contribution in respect of Alberta’s administration costs referred to in section 2.2.2 shall not exceed:
In each of Fiscal Years 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 an amount up to 10% of the maximum amount payable for that Fiscal Year.
4.6 Repayment of overpayment
4.6.1 In the event payments made to Alberta exceed the amount to which Alberta is entitled under the Agreement, the amount of the excess is a debt due to Canada and Alberta agrees to, unless otherwise agreed, repay the amount within sixty (60) calendar days of written notice from Canada.
4.7 Use of Funds
4.7.1 Canada and Alberta agree that funds provided by Canada under this Agreement will only be used by Alberta in accordance with the areas for investment outlined in section 2.2 of this Agreement.
5. Planning and reporting
5.1 Action Plan
5.1.1 Alberta has completed and shared its Action Plan for the years 2017-18 – 2019-20 of federal funding with Canada as set out in the Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement 2017-2020. Upon signature of this Agreement by both Parties, Alberta will publicly release their Action Plan which:
- identifies priority areas for investment and objectives, within the Framework’s parameters, which builds upon the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and/or inclusivity of their early learning and child care system
- describes how Alberta plans to demonstrate progress based on the principles and objectives of the Framework
- outlines Alberta’s planned innovation spending
- demonstrates that federal investments will not displace existing Alberta early learning and child care spending
- outlines the indicators that will be reported on annually according to their planned investments
- identifies targets for each indicator that will be reported on annually for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement
- may identify additional targets for jurisdiction-specific indicators in relation to the objectives of the Agreement for tracking progress; and
- includes the description and results of consultations, and the stakeholder groups consulted
5.1.2 Alberta will share with Canada the results of any consultations undertaken during the development of its Action Plan. Alberta consults regularly and acknowledges that the needs and perspectives of its stakeholders necessarily shape its Action Plan.
5.1.3 Alberta submitted an Action Plan for fiscal year 2020-2021, as set out in Annex 2, outlining areas of investments and targets. Initiatives outlined in the 2020-2021 Action Plan are intended to expand access to affordable, high quality child care spaces previously funded with federal support. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta’s ability to deliver on the initiatives outlined in the 2020-21 Action Plan may be affected. Upon signature of this Agreement by both Parties, the Action Plan for 2020-2021 will be publicly released.
5.2.1 As soon as available in 2017-18, Alberta agrees to provide all available data on the agreed-to indicators.
5.2.2 By no later than October 1, of each Fiscal Year during the Term, commencing in 2018-19, Alberta agrees to:
- report to the people of Alberta and share with Canada the results and expenditures of early learning and child care programs and services resulting from funding provided by Canada under this Agreement. The report shall include the:
- number of children benefiting from subsidies
- number of licensed early learning and child care spaces broken down by age of child and type of setting
- the report shall demonstrate the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement
- Share with Canada an Annual Report in the format and manner agreed upon jointly by Alberta and Canada. The report shall demonstrate the results attributable to the Action Plan and the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement and will include:
- brief description of the activities, expenditures and results of the Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement as set out in Annex 2
- results achieved according to the indicators and measures referred to in Annex 2
- impact on families as stated in 2.2.3
- description of consultation processes as relevant
- innovation spending referred to in Annex 2; and
- any additional results of evaluation activities undertaken in the Fiscal Year, as available
- Alberta agrees to share with Canada an audited financial statement of revenues received from Canada under this Agreement:
- the revenue section of the statement shall show the amount received from Canada under this Agreement during the Fiscal Year
- the total amount of funding used for ELCC programs and services under section 2.2
- the administration costs incurred by Alberta in developing and administering ELCC programs under section 2.2.3
- if applicable, the amount of any surplus funds that are to carried over by Alberta, as agreed to by Canada
- if applicable, the amount of any surplus funds that are to be repaid to Canada under section 4.6
The financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the audit shall be performed by the Alberta Auditor General or his/her delegate, or by an independent public accounting firm registered under the laws of Alberta and shall be conducted in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Auditing Standards. Canada agrees to review the Statement of Expenditures referred to in section 5.2.1.c) within three months of receiving it.
5.2.3 Upon agreement by Alberta and Canada, Canada may incorporate all or any part or parts of the said report into any public report that Canada may prepare for its own purposes, including any reports to the Parliament of Canada or reports that may be made public.
5.3.1 Alberta will ensure that expenditure information presented in the annual report is, in accordance with Alberta’s standard accounting practices, complete and accurate.
5.4.1 Alberta is responsible for evaluating its early learning and child care programs and services. As per established policies and processes with respect to program effectiveness, Alberta will evaluate programs and services receiving funds provided under this Agreement and will make public the results of any such evaluation.
6.0 Long-term collaboration
6.1 Canada and Alberta agree to share and release data as available, and knowledge, research and information on effective and innovative practices in early learning and child care, to further support the development of and reporting on quality and outcomes. Canada and Alberta agree to work together and with stakeholders towards the development of common quality and outcome measures that may be included in bilateral agreements in the future.
6.2 Canada and Alberta agree to work together to improve data collection and dissemination on key early learning and child care information for children under age six.
7.1 Canada and Alberta agree on the importance of communicating with citizens about the objectives of this Agreement in an open, transparent, effective and proactive manner through appropriate public information activities.
7.2 Each government will receive the appropriate credit and visibility when investments financed through funds granted under this Agreement are announced to the public.
7.3 The Parties agree to give 10 days’ advance notice of public communications related to the bilateral agreements, and results of the investments of this Agreement.
7.4 Canada and Alberta reserve the right to conduct public communications, announcements, events, outreach and promotional activities about Framework and bilateral agreements.
8.0 Dispute resolution
8.1 Canada and Alberta are committed to working together and avoiding disputes through government-to-government information exchange, advance notice, early consultation, and discussion, clarification, and resolution of issues, as they arise.
8.2 If at any time either Canada or Alberta is of the opinion that the other Party has failed to comply with any of its obligations or undertakings under this Agreement or is in breach of any term or condition of the Agreement, Canada or Alberta, as the case may be, shall notify the other Party in writing of the issue. Upon such notice, Canada and Alberta will endeavour to resolve the issue in dispute bilaterally through their Designated Officials, at the Assistant Deputy Minister level.
8.3 If the dispute referred to in subsection 8.2 cannot be resolved by Designated Officials within 60 days, then the dispute will be referred to the respective Deputy Ministers of the Parties, and if it cannot be resolved by them, then the respective Ministers of the Parties shall endeavour to resolve the dispute.
9.0 Equality of treatment
9.1 During the term of this Agreement, if another province or territory, that is part of the Framework, negotiates and enters into an Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with Canada, or negotiates and enters into an amendment to such an agreement and if, in the reasonable opinion of Alberta, any provision of that agreement or amended agreement is more favourable to that province or territory than terms set forth in this Agreement, Canada agrees to amend this Agreement in order to afford similar treatment to Alberta, if requested by Alberta. This includes any provision of the bilateral agreement except for those in section 4.0. This amendment shall be retroactive to the date on which the Agreement or the amendment to such an Agreement with the other province or territory, as the case may be, comes into force.
9.2 Canada will make publicly available up-to-date Early Learning and Child Care agreements entered into with all provinces and territories, including any amendments, by posting them on a Government of Canada website.
10.0 Amendments to the agreement
10.1 This Agreement, including all attached annexes, except Annex 1, may be amended at any time by mutual consent of the Parties. To be valid, any amendments shall be in writing and signed, in the case of Canada, by the federal Minister, and in the case of Alberta by the Alberta Minister.
11.1 Canada or Alberta may terminate this Agreement at any time if the terms of this Agreement are not respected by the other party by giving the other Party twelve months’ written notice of intention to terminate.
11.2 As of the effective date of termination of this Agreement under section 11.1, Canada shall have no obligation to make any further payments to Alberta.
11.3 As of the effective date of termination of this Agreement under section 11.1, Alberta shall have no obligations under this Agreement, except for those that may arise under section 4.5.1.
12.1 Any notice, information or document provided for under this Agreement will be effectively given if delivered or sent by letter, postage or other charges prepaid. Any notice that is delivered will have been received in delivery; and, except in periods of postal disruption, any notice mailed will be deemed to have been received eight calendar days after being mailed.
The address for notice or communication to Canada shall be:
Social Policy Directorate
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9
The address for notice or communication to Alberta shall be:
Office of the Deputy Minister
12th floor Sterling Place
9940 – 106 Street
Edmonton AB T5K 2N2
13.1 This Agreement, including Annexes 1 and 2, comprise the entire agreement entered into by the Parties with respect to the subject matter hereof.
13.2 This Agreement is based on the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, Annex 1, concluded on June 12, 2017.
13.3 This Agreement shall be interpreted according to the laws of Canada and Alberta, as applicable.
13.4 Canada acknowledges that no member of the House of Commons or of the Senate of Canada shall be admitted to any share or part of this Agreement, or to any benefit arising therefrom.
13.5 Alberta acknowledges that no member of the Legislature of Alberta shall be admitted to any share or part of this Agreement, or to any benefit arising therefrom.
13.6 If for any reason a provision of this Agreement that is not a fundamental term is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be or to have become invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, it will be deemed to be severable and will be deleted from this Agreement, but all the other provisions of this Agreement will continue to be valid and enforceable.
13.7 This Agreement is drafted in English at the request of the Parties.
Signed on behalf of Canada by the Minister of Employment and Social Development styled as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in Gatineau this 22 day of June, 2020.
[Signed by] The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Signed on behalf of Alberta by the Minister of Children’s Services at Edmonton this 4th day of June, 2020.
[Signed by] The Honourable Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services
Approved Pursuant to the Government Organization Act:
[Signed by] Colleen Volk, Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Relations, Executive Council on June 8, 2020
Annex 1: Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework
Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers most responsible for Early Learning and Child Care agreeFootnote 1 on the importance of supporting parents, families and communities in their efforts to ensure the best possible future for their children. For more details on this agreement, please consult the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework.
Annex 2: Alberta’s Action Plan for 2020-2021
Government of Alberta’s commitment to child care
Alberta believes accessible, affordable quality child care is essential to positive early childhood development, labour force participation of parents, women’s equality, social integration and inclusion of newcomers, and poverty reduction - all aspects of social and economic growth.
A child’s future health, learning, employment, and social well-being is impacted by early childhood experiences. Children who have a strong start in life are more likely to be healthy and engaged learners and citizens, and more likely to become independent, resilient and productive adults.
Alberta’s child care system – Overview
As of December 2019, approximately 105,351 children were enrolled in approximately 138,081 licensed and approved child care spaces across Alberta in licensed day cares, group family, pre-school, and out-of-school care programs and approved family day homes. There are approximately 2,912 licensed and approved child care programs across the province.
Approximately 18,140 certified child care staff work in these programs. All staff working directly with children in licensed day care programs, out-of-school care programs and pre-school programs must be certified at one of the three levels of certification:
- Child Development Supervisor (two-year Early Learning and Child Care diploma)
- Child Development Worker (one-year Early Learning and Child Care certificate); and
- Child Development Assistant (completion of child care orientation course)
The Government of Alberta supports Alberta’s regulated child care system through two main programs: the Child Care Subsidy Program and the Child Care Grant Funding Program. The Child Care Subsidy Program provides funding to low-income families to offset the cost of child care in licensed and approved child care programs. Of the approximately 105,351 children enrolled in licensed and approved child care, the provincial government provides child care subsidies to the parents/guardians of 28,648 children. Of those, approximately 81% received full subsidy and 19% a partial subsidy.
Effective April 1, 2020, the Child Care Grant Funding Program will replace accreditation funding and provide wage top-ups and professional development funding to certified staff. Funding under this program is available to all licensed day care, out-of- school care, and group family child care programs and approved family day home agencies.
On June 12, 2017, Federal/Provincial/Territorial ministers signed the Multilateral Framework (Framework) on Early Learning and Child Care that outlines principles of high quality, accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care. Federal funding will support Alberta’s early learning and child care goals.
Alberta’s Action Plan, in full respect of the provincial government’s roles and responsibilities in this area of provincial jurisdiction, sets out how the federal contributions will be used to advance the principles and objectives outlined in the Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care through Alberta’s existing system of programs and services; prioritizing investments in regulated early learning and child care programs and services for children under age six; and with consideration for families most in need.
In keeping with the principles of the Multilateral Framework, Alberta will use Government of Canada investments to expand access to affordable early learning and child care in Alberta, while encouraging innovative approaches.
Priority areas of investment
Accessibility and Flexibility
Child care should be flexible and broadly available to respond to the varying needs of children and families to promote early childhood development.
The Government of Alberta is working to improve access to child care, so that all Albertans have the opportunity to participate in the workforce, and are aware of all possible child care resources available for their families and have opportunities to access it.
Despite overall availability of spaces across the province, some communities in Alberta face shortages of regulated child care spaces, leading to child care “hot spots”. These hot spots are identified as child care centres that are at maximum (or over) capacity. Many smaller communities face challenges in providing stable child care options for their residents. Accessibility can be improved by creating child care spaces in areas of geographic need by introducing grants and by creating inclusive child care spaces.
Having access to inclusive child care is important for families who have children with disabilities or special needs to support their participation in the workforce. Inclusive child care environments also help every child to feel accepted, valued and safe. Inclusion means children of all abilities have equal access to participate in child care. Children who are unable to attend inclusive child care programs may otherwise miss out on opportunities for social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
Alberta’s Inclusive Child Care Program will be an innovative model that supports inclusivity in programs by supporting children who need extra support and who display challenging behaviour due to a disability or trauma or other adverse experiences. These children would not be eligible for funding through other Alberta government supports, such as Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD). In this new model, child care program staff will be supported to develop skills in inclusive practices that facilitate the participation of all children in the program, including those with diverse backgrounds, while also supporting children with extra needs.
A lack of affordable child care options can be a barrier for many parents, especially for families with low household income. Unaffordable child care has a range of consequences including:
- lost wages for parents who have to work part-time or drop out of the labour market
- lost opportunities to invest in further education as they are spending most or all of their disposable income on child care; and
- lost revenue through income taxes
Quality early learning and child care systems play an important role in promoting the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of young children and can support positive lifelong benefits.
One of ways to ensure quality in a child care program is through a well trained and quality workforce. Federal investments will be used to expand child care providers’ access to evidence-based curriculum supported by online training and implementation supports for interested licensed and approved programs. Flight, Alberta’s Early Learning and Care curriculum practice framework, is supported by curriculum implementation activities, professional development and training model. The curriculum practice framework is intended to guide early learning and child care educators with young children and their families in centre-based child care and family day home settings.
The Multilateral Framework notes that as early learning and child care systems are operating in increasingly complex and challenging environments, innovative practices can offer solutions to meet the needs of children and families, and can support more integrated and higher quality early learning and child care systems.
As part of the federal funding provided under this Framework, Alberta will promote, define and deliver identifiable innovative approaches to enhance the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity of early learning and child care systems, with consideration for those most in need.
Federal investments in Alberta will not displace existing provincial funding in early learning and child care. These amounts represent annual estimates based on the quarterly preliminary estimates of Canada’s population for July 1, 2020. Please note that actual allocations may vary according to the latest population estimates.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta’s ability to deliver on the initiatives outlined in the 2020-21 Action Plan may be affected. As such, Alberta may re-align investments to support the child care sector and targets may be readjusted.
Summary of investments
- Approximately $11.4M surplus from 2019-20 would be carried forward to 2020-21 to assist day care programs with post-COVID-19 operational supports.
- The $45.4M allocation for 2020-21 would be used to achieve Multilateral Framework goals (for example, Alberta Child Care Subsidy, inclusive child care, and evidence-based curriculum training).
|Areas of investment||Description||2019-2020 Carry-forward||2020-2021|
|COVID-19 Plan in 2020-21 using 2019-20 surplus||
Alberta proposes to use the surplus funds from the 2019-20 year to support programs to re-open and remain financial viable.
|Multilateral Framework Goals for 2020-21|
Quality and Inclusiveness:
Impact of Alberta Child Care Transformation Plan
- options for child care are flexible and broadly available to respond to the varying needs of children and families
- child care is accessible for families who work atypical hours, have children with unique needs, or desire child care that aligns with their cultural values, beliefs or linguistic preferences
- improving access to high quality spaces in hard to serve communities. Rural communities are especially hard to serve because of physical, geographic and employment elements of their location. They also face challenges related to structural and funding issues that limit the development and sustainability quality child care
- Alberta will work to provide access to child care for families with unique needs (in other words, children with disabilities; care that aligns with cultural values or language preferences) that enables parents to participate in the workforce. Children’s Services will work with child care providers to open up child care programs to ensure child care is available for Albertans during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
- affordable child care that supports the most vulnerable children and families
- streamlined and targeted subsidies that provide clear and sustainable support for families
- high quality child care is a focus for all child care in Alberta
- child care in Alberta is inclusive and meets the needs of all children
- all child care options in Alberta have focus on quality and safety for all children
- programs serving the Francophone community will have increased access to the curriculum framework in French
Evaluation and indicators
Children’s Services will monitor the impact of the changes to the child care system to ensure they are having the expected impacts for quality, affordability and accessibility for children, families and educators. Some measures will include assessing changes in the number of families accessing subsidy, the number of child care spaces created, and improved quality and inclusiveness in child care programs.
|Objectives||Funding||Output(s) / Outcome(s)||Indicator(s)||Target(s)||Principle(s) supported|
|Increased access to licensed and approved programs through capital or program grants to create new child care spaces especially in areas of greatest need||$9.7M||More spaces in communities where demand exceeds supply, including “hot spots” and rural communities||Number of new child care spaces||Estimated 385 quality spaces would be created per year||Accessibility|
|Increased affordability for Alberta families||$29M||More families in need receive a higher child care subsidy||Percentage of all children attending regulated child care whose parents receive child care subsidy||An estimated 20,000 families will be positively impacted||Affordability|
|Increased quality in child care||$4.7M||More programs have staff who are trained and supported in evidence-based practice||Number and proportion of programs with staff adopting innovative tools such as the early learning and child care curriculum framework||Evidence-based curriculum made available to all child care programs. As a result an estimated 170 programs per year will have coaching supports for implementation of the curriculum framework including resources for Francophone programs||Quality/Inclusiveness|
|Increased quality in child care||$4.7M||More programs have staff who are trained and supported in evidence-based inclusive child care practice||Number and proportion of programs with staff adopting innovative tools to support children with diverse needs||1,300 more children will be supported by staff capacity building models to support inclusion of children||Quality/Inclusiveness|
Provide financial supports to programs to:
|$11.4M||Support as many licensed child care programs that require funding to cover costs paid during the COVID-19 closure while also allowing them to recoup costs associated with re-opening||Number of viable programs supported post COVID-19 pandemic||Child care programs would be supported to re-open and reduce an increase in parent fees following the COVID-19 pandemic||Accessibility|
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