Introduction of $10-a-day child care raises fears in Alberta

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The introduction of $10-a-day child care raises fears in Alberta

Daycare operators in Alberta are concerned about the way the $10 a day daycare program is being implemented.

< p class="e-p">The new subsidy program that allows child care spaces to cost $10 a day by 2026 has private owners of child care centers in Alberta concerned that the government is getting too controlling of their businesses.

Some say the subsidy limits their option to open new child care centers and controls the price of places too much. This is the case of Krystal Churcher, who runs the private preschool Early Start Learning Center in Fort McMurray.

On the one hand, she says, it is impossible for her to open a second establishment because of the financial risks that the subsidy program brings. On the other hand, she cannot do without the program, since the salary supplement allows her to better remunerate her staff, especially since most of the other daycare centers have signed the agreement.

“I know of no other area in Alberta where private small business owners are so constrained and restricted. »

— Krystal Churcher, principal of the private preschool Early Start Learning Center

Krystal Churcher believes that the new subsidy program reduces the value of his business.

In the case of Kathryn Babowal, principal of the French-language preschool Les Petits Soleils, the funding framework is troubling. Although she says it's a good thing for parents to have access to affordable daycare, that shouldn't mean losing control of her business: [The government] wants to put limits on us so that we become centers non-profit.

According to Andrew Reith, press secretary to the Minister of Children's Services, the province is working with Ottawa to develop an expansion plan for the private sector and a price control framework so that more private establishments can participate in the program.

Andrew Reith clarified that the province has heard landlords' concerns about the funding framework and that there will be a collaborative discussion with parents and them .

In May, the province asked for-profit child care operators to comment on a framework for controlling child care costs. The program included a salary cap and potential earnings cap in the upcoming grant application process for 2023. The current agreement already includes a 3% cost increase cap for businesses.

The new grant contract with a cost control framework is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

With information from Jamie Malbeuf

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