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Now is the best time in years to start or expand a daycare business in Alberta. With $3.8 billion government dollars pledged towards creating 68,700 new child care spaces in the province by 2026, there is unprecedented funding available through the Child Care - Space Creation Grant.

We’ve created this detailed guide to help you get answers to the most important questions about the grant, like:

  • if you are eligible
  • how much you could qualify for
  • how to qualify
    • if you’re applying for an existing space
    • if you’re starting a new space
  • what are the different types of space creation
  • how to complete the application
  • other FAQs

Save yourself hours of combing through large government files, and get the answers you need right here.

Find out if you qualify 

Qualifying for the grant can depend on where your new child care space is located within Alberta and the specific type of space it is in terms of the Early Learning & Child Care Act of Alberta. Let's get into the specifics.

Where is your space – in a 'high demand' or 'high need' area?

The grant is focused on areas that have high demand and/or high need as determined by ‘Alberta’s child care coverage rates’.

Look below to see which areas the government is targeting the grant towards. 

  • If in a red, orange or beige region, you are in an area the government considers to be in need of more licensed child care – and are more likely to receive grant funding.

(Government of Alberta, 2024, pp. 6-31)

From left to right, the map images correspond to these locations:

  • Calgary & Surrounding Areas
  • Edmonton & Surrounding Areas
  • City of Edmonton
  • Southern Alberta
  • City of Medicine Hat
  • City of Lethbridge
  • Central Alberta
  • City of Red Deer
  • North Central Alberta
  • Northeast Alberta
  • Fort McMurray Region
  • Northwest Alberta
  • City of Grand Prairie

Maps Legend

Extremely high need community (0.00-8.99%)
Moderate need community (16.00-32.99%)
High need community (9.00-15.99%)
Adequate coverage (33.00%+)
Facility-Based Program Locations
Family Day Home Provider Locations

Please also note that spaces in areas in white may qualify for the grant if the government determines it is an area with ‘high demand’. The best way to find out is to apply.

Are you Licensed?

To qualify, a child care operator must be licensed under Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulation.

What type of Child Care Operation will you run?

The following types of child care are eligible to apply:

  • Facility-Based:
    • Daycares, out-of-school programs, preschools
  • Home-Based:
    • Family Day Home Agencies
  • Both non-profit and private operators.

Estimate how much you qualify for 

Operators can get between $1350 to $6000 per space depending on

  • if they are a new or existing operator
  • if they are expanding an existing space or creating a new space
  • Operator type (facility-based vs home-based)
  • childcare coverage in the area of the space

Use this tool to estimate how many grant dollars your project(s) could be eligible for:

1. Is your space in an area targeted by the grant? (as defined above)

2. Is your space facility-based or home-based?

3. Which is applicable to your space?


*Note that you can apply for multiple qualifying new spaces

How to qualify

What does ‘creating a new space’ mean?

In the context of the grant, there are two main types of ‘space creation’: 

  1. Changing or adding to an existing space
  2. Starting a completely new space

Below we get into examples.

Existing Space

Changing or Adding to an Existing Space: what qualifies for the grant?

There are several different additions, modifications and upgrades you could make to an existing Licensed Child Care space that qualify for the grant. Here are some of our suggestions.

Structural Additions:

  • Add a new multipurpose room: a new room for different activities throughout the day, such as playtime, naptime, or special programs.
  • Add a second storey or basement: a whole new floor to accommodate multiple new rooms

Interior Modifications:

  • Reconfigure your current layout: split large rooms into smaller, functional areas to accommodate more children in organized settings
  • Restroom Expansion: expand existing restrooms with more toilets to accommodate more children
  • Kitchen Expansion: expand kitchens to include more cooking appliances and larger meal preparation surfaces for serving more children

Accessibility Improvements:

  • Add Inclusive Designs: Install ramps, expand doorways to be wider, and renovate restrooms to be accessible to accommodate children with disabilities, allowing your facility to serve a larger, diverse group of children.

Retrofits for Sustainability & Comfort:

  • Retrofit your HVAC system: Improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to ensure a comfortable environment for a larger number of children
    • Good examples:
      • Multi-zone HVAC systems that allow room-by-room heating controls to support different activities;
      • Radiant Floor Systems for more even temperature distribution and increased comfort, particularly in areas where children play on the floor.
  • Energy-Efficient Heating & Lighting: Install energy-efficient windows, insulation, and lighting to reduce operational costs and improve comfort for more children

Create dedicated storage spaces:

  • Add built-in storage units, cubbies, and shelves to keep the facility organized and able to handle more children's belongings.

New Space

Starting a Completely New Space: what qualifies for the grant?

Whether it’s your first location in Alberta or another among several, most child care facilities and day home agencies that start operating a new location can have this qualify as a ‘new space’ for the grant.

Here are the specifics:

For facility-based providers: ‘operating a new location’ means leasing or purchasing a building (or part of a building) where their child care operation will run. 

Popular building-types in Alberta to consider leasing, buying or building when starting a new daycare business facility that qualifies for the grant:

  • Standalone buildings that were purpose-built as daycares or preschools
  • Units in Commercial spaces such as shopping centres and mixed-use condos that can be renovated to accommodate childcare
  • Community centre buildings with dedicated areas for childcare
  • Schools can offer spaces ready-made for childcare use
  • Places of worship can have spaces dedicated to children
  • Office buildings offer whole floors or units that can be configured for out-of-school programs and daycare centers

‘New’ facility-based operations that can qualify include:

  • daycare centers,
  • out-of-school or after-school programs,
  • preschool programs

Example: imagine a daycare business that currently operates a center in Grand Prairie, Alberta. The business wants to expand to other high-need areas of Northern Alberta, for example to High Level. With the Space Creation Grant, the business leases a standalone building in downtown High Level and starts up a new daycare center there.

For day home agencies: adding a new home-based provider to their network could be considered as a ‘new space’.

Example: if someone wants to start a group family child care program from their home and they approach a Family Day Home agency to join their network, then this newly-added home is considered a ‘new space’ that could qualify for the grant.

Note: According to the government website, as long as you are a licensed child care operator, you do not need to wait until after you’ve started renovations or construction for your new space(s) to qualify for the grant – you can apply for the grant if you are interested in creating new licensed child care spaces.

How to Apply

The application is a form on the ‘Alberta Purchasing Connection’ (‘APC’) Portal

Here are the steps:

  1. Create a ‘vendor profile’ on APC here (necessary to access the application)
  2. Complete the application form in the Portal 
  • Ask application-specific questions directly to the government through the mailbox link provided in the application
  1. Submit the Application
  2. Receive decision

What is the APC, exactly?

The APC portal is the government of Alberta’s site for connecting external organizations with relevant opportunities offered by the government. A vendor profile enables you to complete the application.

How to get started

Growing or starting a childcare business in Alberta is an exciting opportunity with demand for licensed child care set to grow.

Like we’ve described, there are many changes you could make to your existing child care space that could qualify for the grant: from adding a multipurpose room, to upgrading the HVAC system to leasing a whole new facility. 

Whatever space expansion you pursue, getting a professional design with an engineer’s stamp is critical  for securing permits for renovation & construction. 

That’s where we come in: we are some of Alberta’s leading Licensed Professional Engineers – we create the designs you need for your new child care space

Here’s how we help you:

  • Permits: We provide stamped layout and design drawings needed to secure development & building permits for your space

  • Licensing: We ensure all designs meet local building codes & safety regulations which are important for child care licensing

  • Coordination: We coordinate with other parties (so you don’t have to) involved in your project like contractors, architects & local officials

  • Optimized Design: We create designs that are optimized to be cost effective while maximizing the usability of child care spaces

Wondering how we can help Your Project?

Ask us about your project and we'll let you know how we can help. We'll respond within an hour.

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Opening a Childcare service in another province? We can help with that too: Contact Us

More About Us:

Unlike other firms, we specialize in single tenant projects, including several types of child care facilities. This focus on smaller, custom projects brings us an ‘Operator’s Perspective’ where we don’t just work for our clients but we think and act like them – making our solutions practical, cost-efficient, and aligned with your objectives.

As you know, starting or expanding a daycare center takes time and effort. Let us deal with building codes, permits and regulations so you can focus on making your expansion a success. Whether you’re just considering the grant or have already applied, Contact Us to get started on your new child care space.

Frequently asked questions

According to the government’s website, the only requirement to apply for the grant is being a new or existing licensed child care operator that is ‘interested’ in creating new licensed child care spaces. In plainer language, it appears that you do not have to already have created the new space you are applying for and therefore you can apply before you’ve taken action to create the new space.

While we are not aware of specific guidelines for how distributed grant funds are to be spent by recipients, authoritative figures in the Alberta Child Care field (such as Sonia Grams, Co-Chair of the Alberta Family Child Care Association) have expressed that funds can be used to offset startup costs associated with creating or expanding a child care space.


  1. Government of Alberta. (2024, March). Community child care coverage in Alberta: A comprehensive report. Alberta Government. https://www.alberta.ca/system/files/jet-community-child-care-coverage-in-alberta-report-march-2024.pdf
  2. Government of Alberta. (n.d.). Alberta purchasing connection. Retrieved June 4, 2024, from https://purchasing.alberta.ca/
  3. Government of Alberta. (n.d.). Child care space creation grant. Retrieved June 4, 2024, from https://www.alberta.ca/child-care-space-creation-grant
  4. rdnewsNOW Staff. (2023, February 16). Applications open to expand day home spaces in Alberta. rdnewsNOW. https://rdnewsnow.com/2023/02/16/applications-open-to-expand-day-home-spaces-in-alberta/
  5. Wong, A. (2023, May 16). Is my community a child care desert? New map shows availability across Canada. Monitor Magazine. https://monitormag.ca/articles/is-my-community-a-child-care-desert-new-map-shows-availability-across-canada/


The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the information contained in this blog for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

We strongly recommend that businesses seeking to qualify for the new childcare grant offered by the Government of Alberta consult with a professional advisor or the appropriate government agency for specific guidance tailored to their unique situation.

We will not be liable for any loss or damage, including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this blog.

Through this blog, you may be able to link to other websites which are not under the control of our company. We have no control over the nature, content, and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

Get the Grant: Your Guide to Open a Daycare with Alberta’s Child Care - Space Creation Grant

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