Alberta, Ottawa agree on one-year child-care deal with some COVID money

Alberta, Ottawa agree on one-year child-care deal with some COVID money

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals and Alberta’s United Conservatives have agreed on a one-year extension to child-care funding that will also help offset costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Alberta, the one-year deal will mean more than $45 million this fiscal year to create new licensed child-care spaces through capital and program grants and subsidies for more lower-income families.

The provincial government is also planning to use $4.7 million of the funding for training.

The province says there is $10 million leftover in funding from its previous deal with Ottawa that is being rolled over to help centres offset costs associated with COVID-19 closures and reopening to help programs remain financially viable.

The money is part of a 10-year, $7-billion funding pledge the Trudeau Liberals unveiled in 2017 — not the $625-million, eight-month pledge the Liberals have made under a “safe restart” agreement with provinces.

Money to provinces flows through one-on-one agreements that originally lasted three years, worth about $1.2 billion in federal funding.

Both levels of government planned to signed renewed deals this year, but that was before the pandemic struck.

All parties agreed to roll over the funding for another year to buy more time for longer-term deals, meaning Ottawa would ship about $400 million to provinces this fiscal year.

Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen is scheduled to make an announcement Friday morning in Ottawa about the “safe restart” money.

Earlier this week, Hussen told The Canadian Press the pandemic money for child care matched what provinces, territories and child-care experts pitched to help the sector manage the immediate costs of COVID-19.

He added the pandemic money will be aimed at helping daycares pay for protective gear, cleaning supplies and extra space needed to reopen safely, although exact details were still being worked out.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Alberta

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