Average of $10 a Day Child Care

On April 1, 2024, families in the NWT with children aged five years and younger attending licensed early learning and child care programs will benefit from an additional reduction in their child care fees.

We are committed to improving access to high-quality, inclusive early learning and child care across the NWT. The territorial-wide average of $10 a day child care, funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories, will help make life more affordable for families with young children.

For 2024-2025, approximately 74% of licensed child care fees will be paid by the government through the Child Care Fee Reduction subsidy, up to a maximum of:

Space type 2024-2025 subsidy maximum per child
Infant space (0 to 23 months) $760/month
Preschool (2 to 5 years) $750/month
Out-of-School (3 to 5 years) $175/month

Example

In 2021, before the signing of the NWT-Canada Agreement, if an infant child care space cost $1,070/month:

  • The family paid $1,070/month
  • The child care provider earned $1,070/month

As of April 1, 2024, if an infant child care space cost $1,112.80/month:

  • The family pays $352.80/month
  • The GNWT pays $760/month
  • The child care provider earns $1,112.80/month

Child Care Fee Reduction subsidy and fees paid by families as a total amount of monthly licensed program fee increases annually

Contents

How much will I pay now that the NWT has reached an average of $10 a day child care?

Across the NWT, a wide range of fees are charged for early learning and child care. While some programs are free for families, of those that charge fees, the current subsidized child care fees in the NWT range from $2.40 to $61.84/day.

The amount that a family will pay depends on the age of the child and the monthly fee of the licensed program they attend. We will cover up to 74% up to the identified maximum subsidy amount of the child care fees charged for infant and preschool spaces and up to the maximum subsidy amount for out-of-school spaces, and families will pay the remaining balance. 

Below are two examples based on fee charged by the provider:

Space type Fee charged by the child care provider Total maximum amount paid by GNWT Remaining balance for family to pay
Preschool (2 to 5 years) $1,020/month $750/month $270/month
Space type Fee charged by the child care provider Total maximum amount paid by GNWT Remaining balance for family to pay
Preschool (2 to 5 years) $1,300/month $750/month $550/month

What does an average $10 a day child care mean?

An average of $10 a day means that some families will pay less than this amount, and others will pay a higher amount. However, effective April 1, 2024, child care fees paid by families will be reduced across the territory.

How do you calculate the average of $10 a day?

Across the NWT, a wide range of fees are charged for early learning and child care. While some programs are free for families, of those that charge fees, the current child care fees in the NWT range from $2.40 to $61.84 a day. The $10 daily average is derived from a weighted average that considers all ranges of space types and fee structures. It considers options, such as spaces for after-school care and free child care programs. This figure represents an average across all space types (e.g., some daycare spaces will be more than $10 a day, while others will be less).

If I have more then one child attending a licensed early learning and child care program will I pay lower fees for each child?

The subsidy applies to all children ages five years and younger attending a licensed early learning and child care program. So, if you have more than one child attending a licensed program, you will pay lower fees for each child who is five years of age and younger.

Will my licensed early learning and child care program lose revenue because I now pay an average of $10 a day?

No. Licensed programs do not lose revenue because you are paying lower fees. While the fees that you pay have been reduced, funding provided to licensed programs has increased to offset the difference. Licensed programs continue to receive the same amount of child care fees as revenue even though families pay less.

For example, if a program charges $1,030 for an infant space, as of April 1, the family will pay $270 of that amount and the GNWT will pay $760 per month. The program will still receive $1,030 for the space per month.

In addition, licensed programs receive up to $1,800 for family day homes, and up to $18,000 for centre-based programs annually to administer funding.

All licensed programs also receive operating funding from the Government of the Northwest Territories.

How do you calculate how much funding my early learning and child care program will receive?

We previously provided funding to licensed programs for the days that the child attended the program, including up to five sick days/month per child. If a child was sick for more than 5 days that month, the program would not receive funding for those additional days missed.

Beginning April 1, 2024, we fund:

  • Family day homes based on the number of children enrolled in the program.
  • Centre-based programs based on the number of licensed spaces.

This change means that licensed early learning and child care programs receive funding regardless of whether the child attends or not. Licensed programs receive more funding and reporting requirements are simplified.

Will I experience further reductions in future years?

No. With this latest reduction, we have reached our goal of an average of $10 a day child care and no future reductions will occur.

What about out-of-school licensed programs for children five years of age and younger?

Children five years of age and younger in licensed out-of-school programs will receive a reduction of up to $175/month on their child care fees. The amount you will save depends on your child’s age and the licensed program they attend.

Out-of-school fees for my school-aged child older than five years old will be higher than those I pay for my four- or five-year-old child. Why is the subsidy only applicable to children aged five years and younger?

The Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement is focused on reducing child care fees for children five years of age and younger. Child care fee reductions do not apply for children ages six and older. However, the reduced fees for younger children have not led to increased fees for older children. Programs cannot charge more for an older child than the fee they are approved to charge for that space type.

How do I know if an early learning and child care program receives the Child Care Fee Reduction subsidy?

All licensed early learning and child care programs receive the subsidy to reduce fees for families. View the list of licensed programs in the NWT.

Do families of children in licensed child care need to apply to receive reduced child care fees?

No, families do not need to apply for reduced child care fees from a licensed program. We provide funding directly to licensed programs who in turn reduce the fees they charge families.

My family and I are going on a two-month holiday, and I don’t want to lose my child’s spot. I plan to hold onto the spot by paying for it. If I do this, will I still be eligible for the reduced fees?

Yes. Beginning April 2024, the subsidy for reduced child care fees is tied to the enrolled space rather than the attendance of any child. This means that licensed programs will continue to receive funding for any absence a child may have, and the fee reduction remains for families.

I receive Income Assistance to pay for child care. Am I eligible for lower child care fees?

Yes. You are eligible for reduced fees but only for the portion of child care fees you pay personally. Any portion of your child care fees that a third party pays for are not eligible for reduced fees.

Fees paid in full by third parties are not eligible for the subsidy as the funding is intended to reduce costs to families. In these cases, you are not paying for children in care. Programs can charge their core monthly fees (unreduced amounts) to them.

For example, if your child care fees are $1,030 per month and Income Assistance pays for 50% of your total child care fees, the amount you would owe personally is $515/month. You would still be able to receive a subsidy of $381.10/month and would pay $133.90/month for your space.

My child attends a free Aboriginal Head Start Program, and I do not don’t pay child care fees. How do I benefit from the average of $10 a day of child care?

All licensed programs, fee-based and those that do not charge fees, receive funding from the GNWT to assist with the costs associated with operating a licensed program. 

If your family does not pay child care fees, you are not eligible for the subsidy.

What happens when my child turns six?

If your child turns six in any given month, you will receive lower fees for that month. However, the reduced fees will not continue into the following month.