The province continued to make life better for families this year by adding thousands of affordable child care spaces, expanding the school nutrition program and investing in new infrastructure.
This year, 100 new $25-a-day affordable child care centres opened in Alberta, adding to the 22 centres that were already in operation. The expansion of the program, which has now created spaces for 7,300 kids, meant more Albertans were able to re-enter the workforce in 2018 and parents saved an average of $425 every month on child care.
“Parents across Alberta tell me that $25-a-day child care is the single biggest life-changer for their families. It means they can go back to work and afford things like winter coats or dental work for their kids. We’re working to make quality child care affordable for every family in the province.”
~Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services
More than 32,000 students also started school this year in new and modernized learning spaces, thanks to the largest infrastructure build in Alberta’s history. In total, 37 new and modernized schools will open across the province during the 2018-19 school year.
“Our government knows that investing in our education system is one of the most important investments we can make in our province’s future, and that is why we will continue to make these important investments. Since May 2015, our government has funded 244 school projects in every corner of the province.”
~David Eggen, Minister of Education
The government also expanded its school nutrition program this year to ensure students across the province could focus on their studies and not their stomachs. The program started in the 2016-17 school year, but because of its overwhelming success it was expanded in 2017-18 to all 61 publicly funded school authorities in Alberta, resulting in more than 33,000 students receiving a daily nutritious meal.
To improve the health and well-being of children and families, the government also invested in mental health supports, including:
- $566,000 to the Calgary Counselling Centre to expand its services for children, youth and families facing anxiety, depression and stress.
- $1.2 million over three years to the Zebra Centre in Edmonton to ensure children and their families have increased access to immediate crisis intervention, mental health assessments and caregiver support.
- $500,000 to Hospice Calgary to support professional counsellors and group programs for children, youth and families dealing with grief after the death of someone close to them due to homicide, suicide, accident, overdose or sudden medical or terminal illness.
The government also helped families get the care they need closer to home by supporting a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert and opening a redeveloped maternity care unit at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary.
“Families deserve to know that the supports and services they rely on will be there when they need them. I’m proud that our government has had the backs of vulnerable Albertans, and that we’ve continued to invest in our families’ futures. We will continue putting families first, ensuring needed resources are in place across the province.”
~Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health
The Alberta Child Benefit also continued in 2018. Families earning less than $41,746 per year in family net income continue to receive additional money to meet their needs. The maximum annual benefit is $1,114 for families with one child and up to $2,785 for families with four or more children.