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Federally backed NWT childcare subsidy will increase on April 1

Premier Caroline Cochrane, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and NWT MP Michael McLeod appear in CPAC's live stream of a childcare funding announcement on December 15, 2021.

NWT families paying for childcare should see a reduction in costs from April 1 as the territory takes the next step in a federally backed program.

Ottawa has a stated aim of delivering $10-a-day childcare by 2026. This year, the NWT will move from paying half of a family’s childcare fees, on average, to 60 percent.

Meanwhile, the territorial government also published the range by which childcare providers will be allowed to increase their fees in the year ahead.

The rollout of new childcare subsidies has been controversial as it required that providers sign up to a system where the GNWT could cap their fee increases. For example, over the past year, fee increases were capped at 2.3 percent, which some providers said made it difficult to offer fair wages to staff or meet other needs.



The GNWT argues that the fee increases it allows are more generous than those allowed in other jurisdictions like British Columbia and Yukon.

In 2023-24, the territory said on Wednesday, a provider charging less than $1,000 a month is eligible to increase fees by up to six percent (and potentially more if the fee is currently significantly below $650 a month).

Providers charging $1,000 to $1,200 a month can increase that fee by up to four percent, and providers charging more than $1,200 a month are capped at a two-percent increase.

Among licensed programs that charge for childcare, the GNWT says the current range of fees is $540 to $1,380 per month, depending on the provider you choose.

“This tiered approach acknowledges and helps to address the varying fee ranges across the territory,” the territorial government stated.

RJ Simpson, the minister responsible for the childcare subsidy’s rollout, said in a news release: “The GNWT has structured these increased enhancements not only to reduce fees for families, but also to raise the total funding for licensed program operators to assist with rising costs.”