In this blog post we’ll discuss the Liberal campaign pledge to implement a universal child care system in Canada within the next 5 years, and more specifically, what this means for private dayhomes in Alberta.
Should private dayhome providers be concerned? Are our jobs in jeopardy? Read on to learn more about Embolden PDC’s thoughts towards a universal child care system in Alberta.
A CAMPAIGN PROMISE
With Election 44 now behind us, we find ourselves once again under a minority Liberal government here in Canada. And one of the hot button topics of this years election was each parties platform on early learning and child care. The Liberal party campaigned on their promise to reduce parent fees by half within the next year, with the goal to implement $10/day child care Canada wide within the next 5 years. And now, as our newly re-elected governing party, we’re about to see if they’ll make good on this campaign promise.
BUT WHAT DOES $10/DAY CARE REALLY MEAN FOR FAMILIES?
There is no doubt that the allure of $10/day child care sounds exciting and life changing for many families in Alberta. And quite frankly, it may be vital for the economic recovery we are so desperately in need of after almost 18 months of pandemic living. But what does it really mean for families and providers in Alberta, and who will be able to access $10/day child care? Will this be the end of private dayhomes in Alberta as we know them?
NOT ENOUGH CHILD CARE SPACES IN ALBERTA AND NOT ENOUGH FUNDS TO CREATE THEM
In Alberta, there are not enough regulated child care spaces to meet the demand for child care. In fact, there is a regulated child care space deficit of over 175,000 child care spaces. Meaning that over 29,000 unlicensed child care providers are needed to meet the demand for child care in our province. And while the federal child care plan does set aside funds to create new regulated child care spaces – we would be looking at over 1 billion dollars needed to create the 175,000 child care spaces required to implement a truly universal child care system in Alberta. Tack on the funds required to staff these spaces and to implement $10/day child care, and this plan for universal child care is starting to feel out of reach.
$10/DAY CHILD CARE FOR SOME
And so what we’ll likely see instead of $10/day child care for all – is $10/day child care for some. And while we will be able to add new child care spaces to the system in Alberta through this government funding – the need for unlicensed child care will remain long after $10/day child care is implemented in our province.
SUPPORTING PARENTS WHO UTILIZE UNLICENSED CARE
So we’re counting on the Minister of Children’s Services to negotiate a flexible funding agreement that supports ALL families in Alberta. One that takes into consideration the uniqueness of our Alberta child care system and that appreciates the choices that parents make in caring for their children every day. Because if we cannot create a system where every child has access to a regulated space – we must have a system that supports families who cannot participate in the regulated system.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
If you’re a parent or provider who will not be supported through the proposed $10/day child care program in Canada, let your MLA know. This is a critical time for parents and providers to make their voices heard so that Children’s Services understands the uniqueness of our system in Alberta and parents and providers are not left behind. Consider writing a letter to your elected government officials and to Children’s Services using our Letter Templates here. And if you are an unlicensed provider who wants to be recognized in Alberta – consider joining Embolden PDC.
UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE MEANS AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE FOR ALL.
Keep the conversation going,