Children First Plan

The Most Ambitious Child Care Plan in Alberta History

March 20, 2019 - Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel has announced that an Alberta Party government will pursue the most ambitious plan for early learning and child care in the history of Alberta.

The Children First plan includes a major expansion of direct financial support to lower and middle-income families to cover the costs of licensed daycare and out-of-school care programs, a caregiver tax credit, and the creation of more affordable, high-quality child care spaces throughout the province.

“Building a stronger future for Alberta begins with investing in our children. Under our Children First plan, middle class families across Alberta will now receive support for child care, no matter where they live and no matter what option they choose.

Our plan will also power the creation of more safe, high-quality, affordable child care spaces throughout Alberta, and ensure the government places a new focus on our children’s early years.

This represents the biggest expansion of child care in the history of Alberta, which will support participation in the workforce and position Alberta for a prosperous future.”


Helping Far More Families Afford Child Care

Far more lower and middle-income families will receive financial support to cover the costs of licensed child care through a new voucher program. The voucher can be used at any licensed child care and will provide a subsidy of up to 100% of the costs of a child care cost (up to established regional maximums)

The NDP’s $25/day child care proposal covers only 7,276 spaces. Our Children First plan applies to all licensed child care spaces in the province. There are over 260,000 Albertan children and more than 100,000 Albertan families to whom our program would apply.

The voucher will “follow the child”, putting decision-making in the hands of families rather than the government. This accommodates differences in childcare costs between care providers. Children up to age 6 will be covered.

The subsidy will be income-tested using a sliding scale calculation. For general reference, approximate maximum amounts that families would pay out-of-pocket for child care under this plan (i.e., after subsidy) are as follows:

Approximate Combined Family Income

Estimated Maximum Cost Per Day to Families Per Child

$0 - $29,999

$0 per day max

$30,000 - $49,999

$5 per day max

$50,000 - $69,999

$10 per day max

$70,000 - $89,999

$20 per day max

$90,000 - $110,000

$30 per day max


It is expected parents attending post-secondary education and those earning minimum wage will receive a 100% subsidy of their childcare costs.

This represents a massive expansion of the current child care subsidy program, in a way that supports the creation of more licensed child care options based on local demand. Far more families will qualify for a subsidy than under the present system, and families who currently qualify for a subsidy will receive far more financial support.


Caregiver Tax Credit

For families with children who do not use a licensed child care option, or do not make use of the voucher program, a new income-tested caregiver tax credit will be created to help recognize the costs involved in raising children.


Creating More Affordable, Safe, High-Quality Child Care Spaces

A comprehensive review of Alberta’s child care legislation will be undertaken, with a view to making it easier to create more licensed, safe, affordable, high-quality child care spaces.

A new investment credit will be established to encourage employers to create licensed child care spaces for children of employees.


Creation of a new Ministry of Early Childhood

A new ministry will place a focus on early learning and early childhood in Alberta. It will work proactively, and in collaboration with other ministries, to encourage the healthy development of children during their early years. It is well established that preventative efforts during a child’s early years help bring about better outcomes as they move into adulthood.