Thanks to progress made on an agreement between the federal and Saskatchewan governments, the cost of licensed child care is expected to see a steep and welcome discount early next year for many families.
By February, parents and caregivers with children under the age of six in provincially licensed child care will be eligible for a grant that will range from $306 to $395 monthly depending on the age of the child and type of child care.
The money will be supplied directly to child care providers to reduce upfront costs for parents, according to a news release announcing the program.
The province estimates that on average, the grants will cut child care costs for parents by half.
Parents may also receive a refund for a portion of the child care fees they have paid going back to July 1, depending on their childs age, according to the provincial government.
The refunds will also be administered by the child care provider.
The grant program marks a significant step forward after the province and the federal government inked a preliminary child care deal in August.
Saskatchewan is the first out of the gate ... they are ahead of schedule, federal families, children and social development minister Karina Gould told CTV News.
We think its a really good use of the resources that the federal government has sent to the province of Saskatchewan to help families right away, Gould said.
The plan is part of the federal governments push to eventually bring the cost of child care down to $10 a day within five years.
HOW MUCH WILL PARENTS GET?
The grants will be divided into three categories: infant (0-18 months), toddler (16-29 months), and preschool (30 months 6 years).
There will be two levels, based on whether the child attends a home-based daycare or a child care centre.
- Maximum grant: $395 for centres, $393 for homes
- Maximum grant: $367 for centres, $333 for homes
- Maximum grant: $333 for centres, $306 for homes
Under the plan, parents will receive as much of the available amount as possible up to the point the grant would discount child care costs below $200 a month.
So, for example, if a parent has a toddler enrolled in a day home and pays $500 monthly, the grant would be $300.
HOW WILL RETROACTIVE PAY WORK?
The retroactive reimbursement will be calculated based on the same formula.
In an example provided in its news release, the provincial government says a family who had a toddler in licensed child care since July 1, paying $700 monthly, can expect a refund of just under $2,000.
According to the province, based on the discretion of the child care facility, the payment could be potentially offered as credit.
No action is required by parents, as both the upfront discount and any retroactive reimbursement will be handled by their child care provider.
WHAT ABOUT PART-TIME CHILD CARE?
The province says both the refund amount and the minimum amount parents must pay each month will be prorated based on the proportion of the home or centres full-time fee the family is paying.
HOW WILL THIS IMPACT EXISTING SUBSIDIES?
The province says its still working to determine elgibility for families who have children under age six in licensed child care facilities who already recieve a subsidy through the Child Care Subsidy, the Provincial Training Allowance, or Student Loans.
The Ministry of Education is assessing how the grant will impact programs that subsidize child care, and will share information when it becomes available, the province said in a fact sheet for parents and caregivers.
Families will receive information about changes to their fees directly through their child care provider.