The NDP is promising universal, $25-per-day child care in Alberta if re-elected.
Rachel Notley made the announcement Monday in Calgary, building on a pilot program that subsidizes 7,300 spaces across the province at the $25 rate.
The rate cap would target children five and under.
She said an NDP government would also add 13,000 spaces to the 62,000 child care spaces in the province. Price tag: $1.5 billion over five years.
On the personal finance side, the NDP said the plan would save families an average of $300 per month.
Notley said the plan was ambitious but, based on the experience of other provinces, would pay for itself within “a few years.”
“Child care is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” she said. “Child care is the medicare of the 21st century.”
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According to the NDP, women in Alberta with children under the age of six have the second lowest labour participation rate in Canada. The plan would be to reduce that number.
“Anything that holds Alberta women back, holds Alberta back,” said Notley.
In a news release, the party said it estimates the plan would increase employment by nearly 43,000 people and add almost $6 billion each year to the GDP.
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The plan comes days after the Alberta Party unveiled its promise on child care.
Under that plan, child care costs for children up to age six would be tied to income, from fully subsidized for those earning less than $29,999 to $30 per day for those earning $90,000 to $110,000.
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None of the other parties — including the Alberta Liberals, the UCP, the Freedom Conservative Party, the Green Party of Alberta and the Alberta Advantage Party — have unveiled a child care plan at this stage of the campaign.