EDMONTON - Alberta workers, families, children, and employers will no doubt benefit from the recent federal government announcement of $72 million for child care in Alberta. This is on top of the federal investment of $45 million for child care committed back in July. It is promising to see a government that understands the value of child care for families and their children and is committed to providing some of the much needed funding.
“Many Alberta families are struggling right now. They are facing many issues as we move from crisis to recovery and the lack of affordable, quality child care should not be an added barrier right now,” said Siobhan Vipond, secretary treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “All levels of governments need to step up and provide real leadership so that Albertans, predominately women, are not left behind because of a lack of quality child care as we begin rebuilding our formal economy. This new federal money will help ensure that child care providers can continue to provide the child care that many Alberta families so desperately need without relying on child care workers to subsidize the cost with lower pay and benefits, increasing parental costs.”
We have concerns and are eagerly awaiting details for how these federal funds will be used. We assume it will support the UCP’s re-vamped parental subsidy that does not ensure quality child care, explicitly support child care workers and it does nothing to address the lack of child care spaces for families.
“Since the UCP cut the child care accreditation system in Alberta back in March 2020 there has been no replacement that actually focuses on ensuring quality child care” said Vipond. “The only oversight program Alberta currently has is a licensing program which covers bare minimums around safety and supervision for child care providers. We have no oversight to ensure that government funding is being used on quality child care in Alberta.”
Albertan families and children deserve access to high quality child care and the UCP need to step up and provide real leadership on this issue. The global COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how necessary quality child care is for workers, families and children and the immense economic value it has for our communities and employers. Alberta needs a universal child care system.
Director of Communications, AFL