Information for families - Helping families with child care costs

Is ECE freezing child care fees that licensed programs can charge to families?

No. ECE is not freezing child care fees that licensed programs can charge to families. ECE has identified an annual increase of up to 2.3% during the 2022-2023 fiscal year for those programs that need to increase fees and still opt-in to the CCFR. This takes into consideration: inflation, benefits to programs, and the need to minimize impact to families.

Following the information about the CCFR Subsidy being shared, several operators have decided to raise fees for families at this time up to 40% of their current rate and could cost families more than $400 per month per child. ECE is willing to work with providers to consider increases to rates beyond the 2.3% if there is a demonstrated and documented need to support sustainability of the program.

The CCFR Subsidy is intended to decrease the cost of child care for families up to an average of 50% with an end goal of an average of $10/day by 2026. This goal cannot be attained if licensed programs increase their fees substantially.

Did licensed programs need to retroactively increase fees for families from January to March 2022 in order to opt-in to the CCFR Subsidy?

No. ECE did not encourage licensed programs to retroactively increase the fees they had already charged families from January to March 2022.

As high retroactive fee increases put an undue burden on families, ECE determined that this practice negates the purpose of the CCFR Subsidy and would render programs ineligible in some instances, including where fees are significantly higher than the NWT averages already.

Is the federal funding only guaranteed for this fiscal year until end of March 2023?

No. The funding is secured through the Canada-NWT Canada-wide ELCC Agreement up to 2026.

Will the funding for families be available before June 2022?

Yes, it can be. The timing of the funding will depend on when the licensed program chooses to opt-in to the CCFR Subsidy and when the required paperwork is completed and submitted, including the templates and signed contribution agreement.

Did ECE require that all families sign a letter and return it with the difference in fees to opt-in to the CCFR Subsidy?

No. ECE did not encourage licensed programs to retroactively increase the fees they had already charged families from January to March, 2022.

Will the licensed program lose revenue through the Subsidy?

No, licensed programs will not lose revenue by opting-in to the CCFR Subsidy and will receive additional funding as a bonus of up to $1,800 for family day homes, and up to $18,000 for centre-based programs annually to administer the funding that reduces child care fees for families.

The CCFR Subsidy has been developed to provide families with more affordable child care. It does not reduce or change the other funding a licensed program currently receives from ECE. By participating in the CCFR Subsidy, licensed programs will continue to receive the same amount of child care fees as revenue. Fees will be reduced for families and the other portion of monthly child care fees will be funded by ECE through the Subsidy so families will pay less.

Licensed programs that opt-in to the CCFR Subsidy will:

  • continue to receive operating subsidy funding currently provided by ECE;
  • maintain the full income from fees charged to families at their existing rates;
  • be able to raise fees by up to 2.3% in 2022-2023;
  • have the potential to raise fees annually moving forward at a rate yet to be determined;
  • may experience increased registration for those families that may have seen the total fees charged as a barrier to accessing the program prior to the Subsidy being introduced; and
  • receive an administration bonus of up to $1,800 for family day homes, and up to $18,000 for centre-based programs annually.

How much will I receive for my January to March refund? How much will I pay in new monthly fees?

The actual amounts will vary as licensed programs have different child care fees. Licensed programs will communicate with you regarding the amount you will be refunded and your new rates moving forward.  The amount families will save will vary depending on the age of the child and current child care fees paid.

The CCFR Subsidy will be provided to licensed programs based on the territories average child care fees for 2021-2022 for infant, preschool, and out-of-school spaces. Licensed programs determine their own child care fees charged to families so some offer free programming while others have monthly fees based on infant or preschool spaces.

The estimated NWT-average fees provide a reference point and are used to calculate subsidy rates parents receive toward the goal of reducing child care fees by an average of 50% by December 2022.

The maximum subsidy families using full-day licensed child care can receive is:

  • Infant space (0-23 months) - $530 subsidy
  • Toddler (24-36 months) - $465 subsidy
  • Preschool (3 years to 5 years) - $465 subsidy
  • Out-of-school (5 years and younger) - $165 subsidy

After-school fees for my school-aged child older than five years old will be higher than the fees I pay for my four or five year old child. Why is the CCFR Subsidy only applicable for children aged five years and younger?

The Canada-wide ELCC Agreement (2021-2026) is focused on reducing child care fees for children five years of age and younger. The CCFR Subsidy is not applicable for children ages six and older.

How do I know if an early learning and child care program has opted-in to the CCFR Subsidy?

A list of licensed programs opting in to the CCFR Subsidy can be found online (link).

Who is eligible to receive the CCFR Subsidy?

All families with children five years of age and younger registered in a licensed program as of January 2022 are entitled to receive the reduction. The licensed program your child attends must choose to participate in order for families to receive the CCFR Subsidy.

Families with children registered in an unlicensed program and/or in a licensed program that has chosen not to participate in the CCFR Subsidy for families will not be able to receive the refund or monthly fee reduction.

Will I need to apply to receive the refund?

No. You will not need to apply to receive the refund or reduced child care fees from your licensed program. The CCFR Subsidy is provided directly to licensed programs who opt-in to receive the CCFR Subsidy and the savings will be passed on to families.

How much will I be reimbursed? What will my new child care fee be?

The actual amounts will vary as licensed programs have different rates of child care fees. Licensed programs will communicate with you regarding the amount you will be refunded and your new rates moving forward.

Will the licensed program lose revenue through the CCFR fee reduction?

No. Licensed programs will not lose revenue by opting-in to the CCFR Subsidy. By participating in the CCFR Subsidy, licensed programs will continue to receive the same amount of child care fees as revenue. A portion of monthly child care fees will be funded through the CCFR Subsidy and families pay less.

How is the CCFR Subsidy calculated?

The CCFR Subsidy is based on estimated NWT-average child care fees for 2021-2022 for infant, preschool, and out of school spaces. The maximum subsidy families using full-day licensed child care can receive is:

  • Infant space (0-23 months) - $530 subsidy
  • Toddler (24-36 months) - $465 subsidy
  • Preschool (3 years to 5 years) - $465 subsidy
  • Out-of-school (5 years and younger) - $165 subsidy

Why is ECE choosing to reduce fees now?

With the significant investment provided through the Canada – Northwest Territories Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2021 to 2026, which ECE signed in December 2021, ECE now has additional funding available to help address the affordability of child care in the NWT and transformation of the NWT’s early learning and child care system.

Learn more on how we plan to transform early learning and child care in the NWT.

Why aren’t my child care fees being reduced?

To experience reduced child care fees, each of the following requirements must be met:

  • The child is age five or younger;
  • They are attending a licensed early learning and child care program, and;
  • The licensed program has opted-in to receive the CCFR Subsidy for families.

If your child is attending an unlicensed program, such as a family day home that cares for four or less children, and/or your licensed program has chosen not to participate in the CCFR Subsidy, you will not receive a reimbursement or reduced child care fees. If your child is attending a licensed program but the program has chosen not to participate in the CCFR Subsidy, please discuss any concerns you may have with your program operator directly as this is a program decision.

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

The amount that you will save depends on the age of your child and the program they attend. What about licensed programs for children from age six and older? If your child is age six and older and attends a licensed program you are ineligible for the CCFR Subsidy. The Canada-wide ELCC Agreement is focused on reducing child care fees for children five years of age and younger.