The research group, calling itself independent and non-partisan, combed through future cuts to federal and provincial aid following a deal with Ottawa to lower the daily cost of child care to $10 a day. 2026.

This plan foresees an average fee reduction of 50% by the end of 2022. A reality that will not happen, according to the report of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (New window) qualifying these objectives as ambitious.

While the Alberta government says it is on the right track, the numbers show another reality.

For preschoolers ages 3 to 5, Calgary is expected to have, along with Toronto, the highest median fees in the country: about $700 after cuts, versus $537 if fees were cut in half. In Edmonton, that figure would be $575 this year, or $137 more.

Targets will also be missed for toddlers aged 0-3, according to the report.

Once the planned reductions are implemented, Toronto will continue to be the most expensive city for toddler care in Canada in 2022, at $807 per month. Calgary will be a close second at $785 per monthcan we read in the report.

Eight cities will miss the hoped-for goal of lowering the bill by at least $100 per month for parents of toddlers. Calgary and Winnipeg will miss it by more than $200, according to the report.

Gatineau, Quebec and Montreal are among the seven cities out of 26 that will reach it.

A more expensive Alberta model

In 2021, Alberta has chosen to use a blended fee reduction model that includes modifying the subsidy program and providing subsidies to providers.

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According to David Macdonald, economist at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, this approach is one of the reasons for the high fees in the province.

Until kindergarten, each Alberta child is eligible for assistance between $106 and $266, depending on household income as long as it is less than $180,000.

Approved centers in Alberta receive subsidies of $450 to $635 per full-time child care space, varying according to the age of the children.

We are absolutely on the right track to reduce these feesassures Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services of Alberta.

Currently, the cost of daycare for Alberta families is about $22 a day if parents don’t receive subsidies and around $10 a day for those who do, she adds.

The minister says the government will remain flexible on any changes to the model that may be needed. We will look at the data that comes in every year. We have already said that these amounts are subject to changeshe explains.

NDP calls for more funding

The opposition New Democratic Party has already called on the Conservative government to inject an additional $200 million into child care staff to help meet federal targets.

Economist David Macdonald nevertheless remains confident: The provinces will achieve these federal objectives. Once parents realize that child care is more affordable than before, there will be a lot of demand for child care.

Will Alberta have enough child care centers to meet this demand? The province plans to add at least 42,500 spaces over the next five years. There are about 147,000 now.

The province’s child care program agreement with the federal government provides for an investment of $3.8 billion over five years.

The authors of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives report, David Macdonald and Martha Friendly, consider this year as decisive and the transformation of the system as historic.

For a long time, child care in Canada has been seen as a kind of quilt without a pan-Canadian approach, without a national policy and without a significant role for the federal government.

With information from Elise von Scheel

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