by Stephen Dafoe
The Government of Alberta is getting a $72 million boost from the federal government as part of its Safe Restart agreement. The monies will be used to support licensed child care programs through the economic relaunch.
“The availability of affordable, high-quality and flexible child care will be key to ensuring Canadian parents can return to work and our economy can recover from this crisis,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in a media release Tuesday morning. “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the child care sector to ensure all Canadian families will have access to the quality child care they need.”
Alberta’s Minister of Children’s Services, Rebecca Schulz, said the government was pleased to see Albertans’ contributions coming back to the province through the federal agreement.
“This funding will ensure safe, reliable child care continues to be available as it is a crucial part of Alberta’s economic recovery,” Schulz said. “We are providing support to child care and early learning programs throughout the fall so they can keep their centres safe for kids in their care.”
Licensed programs and approved agencies will receive $200 per approved space from the Safe Restart Agreement on Oct. 15 and Nov. 15 as well as $2500 per licenced program or agency per month. The funding is intended to help program and agency operators buy safety equipment and cleaning supplies as well as undertake health guideline-related upgrades without raising daycare fees.
Total spending is made up of $72 million from the federal government’s Safe Restart Funding agreement, $8.2 million from the Canada-Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, and $6.9 million from Phase 3 of the Child Care Relief program.
Alberta’s NDP said Tuesday’s cash injection news provides no long-term solution to what they call a child care crisis, one with no clear indication of what would be in place after the funding runs out.
“Jason Kenney and the UCP don’t seem to understand that child care is first and foremost an economic issue.” said Rakhi Pancholi, NDP critic for Children’s Services in a media release Tuesday afternoon. “The UCP’s refusal to invest in child care is effectively a refusal to include women and parents of young children in the economic recovery. It is a refusal to ensure that parents can go back to work safely.”
The NDP has proposed their own child care recovery plan that would include the implementation of a universal $25 per day affordable child care program for non-profit, private centres and family day-homes.
“Albertans cannot get back to work without affordable, accessible, and quality child care.” Pancholi said. “Jason Kenney and the UCP government need to release a long-term plan for child care in our province.”