More occasional commentary on the social policy commitments of the Alberta political parties. Today we look at the $25 per day cap on childcare proposed by the Alberta NDP.
As part of its 'Education for Success' platform plank, the Alberta NDP is proposing the following:
"Introduce a childcare system that moves towards a maximum daily cost of $25 per child, with a $9 perday cap for after school care," (Alberta NDP, 2012).
Currently, high quality childcare in Alberta delivered by an accredited non-profit provider can cost working parents $50 or more per day. $50 per day translates to $1,000 per child per month and places a significant financial burden on young families. The Alberta government estimates that the average cost per child for a licensed child care program (for-profit and non-profit, accredited and non-accredited) is $756 per child, and $381 per child for licensed after school care (Government of Alberta, 2012).
The Alberta government recently increased the subsidy levels for lower income families to access childcare. A family can now receive the maximum subsidy at $50,000 of household income. The subsidy is phased out as household income rises.
The Alberta NDP proposal to cap the daily cost of childcare and out of school care would be beneficial to middle income one or two-parent families who qualify for little or no subsidy. The cap would be particularly beneficial to families with two or more younger children in need of childcare or after school care.
In order to improve the quality of childcare in the province, the ESPC suggests that the daily cap only apply to those childcare centres that have successfully gone through the accreditation process.