Alberta’s government has announced a new benefit for families with children in daycare.
On Wednesday, officials said that Alberta parents who use childcare will soon be able to apply to receive a one-time payment of $561 per child through a new Working Parents Benefit.
Families will qualify if they have paid for their children in any form of care — including both licensed and unlicensed — for at least three months between April and December 2020. Each child in care will be eligible for one $561 payment.
The benefit is only available for those with household incomes of $100,000 or less. The government said the benefit will be paid for with $108 million in unspent funds from Children’s Services.
“These supports will not only go a long way in helping families continue to invest in the child care or preschool of their choice, but it will also create additional economic stimulus here in Alberta,” Rebecca Schultz, Alberta’s minister of children’s services, said.
The NDP’s critic for Children’s Services Rakhi Pancholi said on social media Wednesday that while the benefit “may help this month,” the government should be doing more for long-term affordable care.
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Alberta’s $25-a-day childcare pilot program, which was introduced by the NDP, is set to begin a phased ending on March 31.
The 22 childcare centres that were part of the initial pilot will lose their funding then — and the remaining 100 centres will be funded for another year after that thanks to an agreement with the federal government.
Applications for the new benefit will be open online from March 1 to March 31. The government said the funding will cover up to 192,000 children. The government said parents must provide receipts for childcare payments and have a MyAlberta digital ID.