Posted on Mar 26, 2021


EDMONTON – Parents from across the province joined Alberta’s NDP Friday to call on the UCP government to reverse their decision to end the $25/day child care pilot program introduced by the NDP when in Government. 

The program, which created 1,740 new child care spaces throughout rural and urban Alberta and served over 7,500 children, is set to be cancelled by the UCP on April 1. 

“The UCP are forcing Albertans to choose between taking care of their children and paying the bills. For so many, that’s not a choice,” said NDP Critic for Rakhi Pancholi. “The $25/day child care program was a huge step forward for this province and for so many Alberta families, women particularly, to participate equally in the workforce.”

With the deadline of the program's cancellation looming, Emily Burton, a mother of two children in Fort McMurray, is left wondering if she can afford to continue to work and keep her children in child care.

“Affordable childcare is of monumental importance to working parents. The current rate for childcare is between one thousand and fifteen-hundred dollars per month, per child. We are having to make the choice between maintaining a working career or raising a family. The $25/day program provides the average working family with accessible and affordable daycare options while staying in the workforce,” said Burton.

Ryan Way, a Grand Prairie father and board member for a local daycare, says he was able to see from both the parent perspective and the daycare perspective how beneficial the $25/day program was. 

“We were able to pay our staff higher wages at the daycare. We were able to provide more training for the staff, and complete much-needed renovations,” said Way. “As a parent, this program has been amazing. We had a difficult time getting our daughter into day care because she has a severe peanut allergy. With the $25/day program we were able to find her a daycare and also afford it.”

Economists in Canada and elsewhere are calling for childcare to be at the forefront of economic recovery. Studies show the benefits of universal child care and early childhood education far outweigh the costs. For every $1 invested in childcare, studies show that Alberta would get a minimum $4 return.

“I’m concerned that the UCP don’t seem to understand the intent of universal child care. They believe the 99% of Alberta families who need it should be denied it because of the 1% who can easily afford it. All families should have access to quality early learning and child care,” said Pancholi. “Quality, affordable child care is key infrastructure for our economic recovery. The barrier of access to affordable child care means we have less Albertans participating in the workforce, and it shackles our economy and our families.” 

The NDP $25/day child care pilot program began in 2017 with funding through federal investments under the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework Agreement. Alberta’s NDP proposed to expand the program with the Early Learning and Childcare Proposal to all licensed child care centres and family day homes in Alberta.