Posted on Oct 23, 2020
CHILD CARE PROPOSAL WOULD PUT OVER 40,000 PEOPLE BACK TO WORK, $6 BILLION IN GDP GROWTH
CALGARY - Alberta’s NDP is calling for a comprehensive workforce strategy as part of a new proposal for universal, quality, affordable and accessible early learning and child care.
When fully implemented, the proposal, released Friday at www.AlbertasFuture.ca, would put at least 42,500 people back to work and would increase Alberta’s GDP by nearly $6 billion.
“The single most effective economic strategy we can implement to get people back to work and grow our economy, is to offer universal, affordable early learning child care,” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley.
In Calgary, the average cost of full-time child care is $1,000 per month, making it the most expensive city in Alberta and the third most expensive city in Canada for child care, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
In September, Calgary also held the highest unemployment rate across the country for the second month in a row.
“Child care is the key to getting parents, particularly women, back to work,” said NDP Children’s Services Critic Rakhi Pancholi. “Not only does it allow parents with young children to return to work, it creates good local jobs, something Calgary desperately needs right now.”
In the past year, extensive cancellations to Alberta's early learning and child care programs from the UCP government have made programs less affordable, less accessible, less stable and actively undermined quality early childhood education. In order to stabilize the sector and position early learning and child care as the economic driver that it is, immediate actions and a long-term strategy are necessary.
Phil Fulton, a father of two children in Calgary, said “Our struggle with our two kids was finding child care that was available, affordable, of good quality and close to our home and work.” Phil and his wife, like many parents, felt stress and worry when the child care provider in their community closed down leaving them to find a new centre they liked and trusted at the last minute.
Key initiatives under the Alberta’s Future Child Care Proposal:
- Support quality early learning by developing and implementing a workforce strategy for early childhood educators that includes strategies to improve educational attainment, support professional development, and address long-term challenges associated with the attraction and retention of the workforce.
- Release unspent Budget 2020-21 funding for child care to stabilize the sector and minimize parent fee increases.
- Improve existing online tools by creating an online Early Learning and Child Care mapping system and portal to (1) identify where childcare is currently available and; (2) track where new spaces and the kinds of spaces are needed to improve accessibility.
- Support full implementation of Alberta’s “Flight” early childhood curriculum at all child care centres & approved family day homes to ensure the pillars of quality early childhood education are in place.
- Immediately establish an Early Learning and Child Care Task Force to:
- implement the universal $25/day quality early learning and child care program,
- assist in the development of a comprehensive workforce strategy for early childhood educators, and
- develop further strategies to address inclusive and accessible early learning and child care.
- Implement province-wide, universal $25/day quality early learning and child care provided through public, licensed non-profit & private child care programs and family dayhome providers.
About Alberta’s Future: Launched in October 2020, Alberta’s Future is a gathering place for a dynamic, ongoing conversation about Alberta’s priorities for a vibrant, diversified economy. The Alberta NDP is setting out economic principles and proposals that will shape a broader conversation with all Albertans, creating a strategy for our province to achieve a shared vision for our future.