Families who have children enrolled in licensed child care facilities will see a huge drop in costs beginning next year.

Starting in February, parents will see a grant of $300-$365 on their monthly childcare fee, depending on the age of their child and the type of child care their receiving. The money will be given directly to the child care facility and will then go toward their monthly cost like a discount. It's estimated that this benefits program will cut the monthly cost of child care by about 50% for parents.

Parents who are taking part in the benefit will also receive a refund on their monthly costs as far back as July 1, 2021. The amount of this back pay will depend on the child's age according to the provincial government. This pay will be calculated by the government and then the refunded money will be given to the child care providers to then distribute to the parents.

"If you could read the list of paperwork they gave us," says Crystal Kober-McCubbing the Director at Northwest Childcare development daycare. Providers are currently filling out templates for each family/client that is enrolled in their facilities. There are no requirements that families need to meet. Every parent who has a child enrolled in a licensed care facility is eligible for this benefit program. Facilities are handing in their templates by December 3 which will begin the calculation process. The facilities will first receive the lump sum of back pay to give to parents, and then they will start receiving the monthly payments that will go towards the family's monthly costs.

That's not the only paperwork they're dealing with. There's also been a wage increase of about $3 per hour for ECE workers across the province. "We have like so much going on right now for early childhood education. It's absolutely wonderful but it's all rolled out at once," says Kober-McCubbing. 

Also, as exciting as this is for parents, this means good business for daycare centers, "Basically the last couple of days I've had lots of phone calls. So, my already huge, long waitlist is longer," says Kober-McCubbing. She added that some reasoning for the increase in potential clients is that this benefits program will not be applied to unlicensed daycare facilities. 

The grants will be divided into 3 age groups: infant (0 - 18 months old), toddler (16-29 months old), and preschool (30 months - 6 years). It will also be calculated on whether the child attends home-based daycare or child care center. Benefit prices and more information can be found on the Saskatchewan provincial website.


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