The Alberta government is expanding the number of families who will benefit from its child care subsidy program.

Today, Children's Services minister Rebecca Schulz provided more details on how the province will use funding from a recently signed Canada–Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

Families with a household income of up to $90,000 are now eligible, and will now include support for children enrolled in certified preschool programs. Previously, it was only available for licensed daycare, family day home, and out-of-school care programs.

The previous threshold was up to $75,000, and expansion of the program is expected to benefit 12,000 more children.

Schulz says it's designed to give further flexibility to families.

"The best part is these supports are available in any space of parents' choosing," said Schulz in today's press conference. "Choice is absolutely something we've heard a lot about, that parents make a variety of decisions when it comes to early learning and child care, especially now as we come out of the pandemic and parents may be working part-time or working from home."

She says the extra flexibility will help to drive Alberta's economic recovery.

The subsidy will be $125 per month for all eligible families with children enrolled in a licensed preschool program. The government says the average preschool fee in Alberta was $190 per month in March 2020.

The new subsidy program starts on Sept. 1. Albertans can check if they’re eligible and apply for subsidy online starting Aug. 16.

On July 23, it was announced the federal and provincial governments signed an agreement on an extension to the Canada–Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. Through it, the federal government is providing over $290 million in funding over four years to the province.

Schulz says negotiations continue on the agreement and further announcements will follow.