EDMONTON - The United Conservative Government has once again failed to show real leadership on child care with Bill 39.
While the UCP would rather talk about only a few proposed changes to child care, it’s important to look at all the changes the UCP is proposing and apparently would rather not discuss. These changes include the introduction of a completely secret process when a child care operator is disciplined for not adhering to the act. Before, people could appeal through a standard appeals process, now we will have a confidential and privileged alternative dispute resolution. “This process will give bad actors in the child care field a way to cover their bad practices from the public and from parents and families,” said Siobhan Vipond secretary treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
These changes are in combination with allowing more powers to government to renew or grant child care licenses to people or corporations that would have been refused under the prior legislation and moving away from a standard 1 year license for new facilities. The UCP government will also allow child care licenses to be transferred between corporations with no review or oversight – an option that is not available to individual operators for obvious reasons of safety and needing to ensure all providers have a good track record in the child care sector. “Not only do we continue to have no enforceable quality standards for child care in Alberta but we are also now making it easier for bad actors to continue to operate” said Vipond, “We know we need more child care spaces in Alberta but this is not the way to go about getting those spaces."
Overall, these changes, and other proposed in this legislation, fail to address the two immediate concerns for families and workers in Alberta – that they have access to affordable and quality child care. The UCP is still failing to implement any quality control standards for child care or any program that addresses the lack of affordable child care for families.
Updating the licensing and legislation around child care in Alberta was a great opportunity to improve the lives of Albertan families, especially considering the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women, and the UCP have once again failed to show true leadership.
Director of Communications, AFL