Posted on Apr 13, 2021
NDP CALLS FOR MEASURES TO HELP CHILDCARE PROGRAMS GET THROUGH COVID-19 THIRD WAVE
EDMONTON – Following extensive consultation with child care providers, Alberta’s NDP is calling for five measures to help keep children and staff in child care settings safe and keep programs running during the COVID-19 third wave.
“The Premier has made it clear we’re heading to 2,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, meaning this third wave could very well be worse than the second,” said NDP Children’s Services Critic Rakhi Pancholi. “Supports to help child care providers should already be in place. We know that we’re dealing with two variant strains that are more contagious and more harmful to younger people. Child care providers need urgent action.”
Alberta’s NDP is specifically calling for the following for all licensed child care programs, including child care centres, licensed day homes, out-of-school care programs, and pre-schools:
- Rapid testing to be provided to all child care programs across Alberta.
- $3.2 million in funding for PPE - this would be identical to the funding provided to help programs last summer.
- A guaranteed extension by the UCP government of the federal Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) as many centres are facing potential staff layoffs when the federal program ends.
- Funding for parents who have to remove their child from child care programs due to COVID close contact quarantines or illness to cover the costs of child care fees that child care programs cannot afford to refund.
- A guarantee from the provincial COVID contingency fund to help cover fixed costs for centres should they be forced to shut down temporarily due to COVID-19 outbreaks or in the event the entire sector is closed.
Pancholi said the actions are necessary to support centres and parents both during the third wave and to allow them to help drive Alberta’s economic recovery once the public health crisis is over.
“We know there’s no economic recovery in Alberta without affordable childcare,” Pancholi said. “We should be supporting child care providers and parents to cope in these unimaginable circumstances right now and we should be setting the sector up to grow when this is all over.”