Information for licensed programs - Helping families with child care costs

Did the GNWT negotiate the Canada-wide Agreement based on an average daily cost of $38 for child care?

No. The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) based the Child Care Fee Reduction (CCFR) Subsidy averages using information available at the time, including information provided by programs.

The monthly averages for 2021-2022 are:

  • $1060 infants
  • $930 for toddlers/preschool
  • $325 for out-of-school

Why can’t families apply for the Subsidy directly?

Each province and territory’s Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement requires that the subsidy funding flow through licensed program providers. This is the process across the country.

Why are fee increases capped at 2.3% for 2022-23?

The annual increase of up to 2.3% for 2022-2023 acknowledges inflation while balancing sustainability for programs with affordability for families.

How was the amount of funding under the Canada-wide Agreement determined?

Calculations were based on a formula designed and set by the federal government. Negotiations with the federal government were about how the money could be spent rather than the amount.

How is the amount that a family receives under the Subsidy determined?

The subsidy is in no way linked to a family’s income; it is based on the fees you pay. Starting January 2022 a reduction of 50%, on average, to a monthly maximum of:

  • 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 or younger) - $165 subsidy

(Note: Subsidy level is expected to increase for most categories starting in April 2022).

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

The CCFR Subsidy amount that families will save will vary depending on the age of the child and the type of child care space. Registration for out-of-school programs for children five years of age or younger will be offset by 50% of the out-of-school program fees up to a maximum subsidy of $165 per month. CCFR does not apply to out-of-school program fees for children aged six and older.

What about families who are no longer with the licensed program but received child care during the months of January, February, and March 2022?

The CCFR funding will also apply to these families. Licensed programs will be responsible for providing the necessary information to ECE to ensure the families are included in the funding. It will be the responsibility of the licensed programs to distribute the refund to families of eligible children.

How will ECE manage accountability for the funding?

Licensed programs must agree that these funds will be used to reduce child care fees and must report on the funding provided to families.

For any unused funds or overpayments, future payments will be adjusted accordingly. Licensed programs will need to submit their fee schedule annually and centre-based programs will be required to submit their financial statements.

How will the funding amount that a licensed program receives be calculated/determined?

Funding will be calculated for each eligible child based on either 50% of the actual child care fees charged to families or the maximum fee subsidy determined by ECE, whichever is less. The maximum fee subsidy will vary depending on the type of child care space.

Can unlicensed early learning and child care programs access the funding?

No. Programs must be licensed to opt-in to the CCFR Subsidy. Unlicensed early learning and child care programs are encouraged to become licensed so families can benefit from the CCFR Subsidy. Upon becoming licensed, program providers will be eligible to receive funding to reduce child care fees on the month after the program becomes licensed.

What happens if an existing licensed program wants to opt-in after the initial launch of the CCFR Subsidy?

Existing licensed programs may choose to opt-in to the CCFR Subsidy at any time. The CCFR Subsidy would be provided to the licensed program to reduce fees for families starting from April of the fiscal year.

What if a licensed program increased their child care fees and then opted-in to the CCFR Subsidy?

If a licensed program decides to increase their fees and then opts-in to the CCFR Subsidy later that fiscal year, the licensed program must commit to charging child care fees equivalent to 2021-2022.

Do programs need to be approved to receive this funding?

Any licensed program that provides care for children ages five and younger is eligible to apply for the funding. Like other funding provided by ECE, licensed programs will need to provide the required documentation. Licensed programs will have to agree to use the funding towards reduction to child care fees for families with the collaborative goal of reducing fees for families.

How will families know which programs have opted in to receive the CCFR Subsidy?

A list of licensed early learning and child care programs who have signed up to work collaboratively with ECE to reduce the cost of child care fees charged to families is available.

What happens to the funding amount if a child is absent from the program for an extended period of time?

To be eligible for the CCFR Subsidy, the licensed child care space must be used by a child. If a space is not used for longer than four consecutive weeks by the child due to voluntary absences, the CCFR Subsidy funding will not be provided by ECE for the duration of the absence.

Families are encouraged to discuss program absences in further detail with local licensed programs. Licensed programs may also seek clarification from their regional Early Childhood Consultant.

Why might families not experience reduced fees as part of the CCFR Subsidy?

All families with children five years of age and younger who attended licensed programs as of January 1, 2022 are eligible to be reimbursed for a portion of the fees paid between January and March 2022 and to experience a reduction in fees in 2022-2023.

Families with children registered in unlicensed programs and/or if their licensed program has chosen not to participate in the CCRF Subsidy with ECE will not receive a reduction in fees.

If a family’s early learning and child care program is unlicensed, it is ineligible to receive most ECE funding including the reimbursement for CCFR. Funding is available to help a program become licensed to assist with start-up expenses and minor health and safety funding. Once a program is licensed, ECE provides funding such as the Early Childhood Program attendance-based operating subsidy as well as access to professional learning opportunities, potential grants, support from an Early Childhood Consultant and more.

If a family has children attending a program that is licensed, but has chosen not to participate in the CCFR Subsidy funding offered through ECE, please discuss any concerns with the program directly as it is a program-specific decision.