Minister of Children’s Services Danielle Larivee visited one of the five Calgary locations participating in a $25-a-day childcare program on Wednesday.
The $10-million pilot project was unveiled by the NDP government in November 2016, when the province said it would allow qualifying early learning child care (ELCC) centres to offer daycare at a maximum of $25 a day.
The Hillhurst Sunnyside Daycare in the 1300 block of 5 Avenue N.W. has been offering the $25-a-day childcare program since May 1.
Larivee’s visit to the facility gave her an opportunity to speak with parents and see how the program is going so far.
“Our goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. That’s why we have pilot projects,” Larivee said.
“Certainly it’s absolutely essential that Alberta’s families have access to quality affordable child care,” she added. “They shouldn’t have to pay a second mortgage to be able to go to work.”
To qualify for the project, child-care centres had to be non-profit and had to submit a grant proposal. Existing licensed day cares and proposed centres were able to apply before the Jan. 20 deadline.
The NDP then unveiled the 22 locations chosen to participate in the program last month.
Five of the participating centres are in Calgary, five are in Edmonton, and the others are spread out across the rest of the province.
“I think it’s great,” one parent told Global News. “Daycare is super expensive and it’s unfortunate that a lot of people can’t afford daycare, so I think this is a great opportunity. I hope it works.”
The program will create 1,296 affordable child-care spaces – 714 of which will be new. The province said 119 new child-care staff will be hired to support the program. Children aged zero to six are eligible.