Media releases | June 17, 2005

EDMONTON—"Alberta families have waited too long for governments to commit to building a quality early childhood education and childcare system that is accessible to all," says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of the provincial advocacy organization Public Interest Alberta. "It is hard to believe that this government is committed to building a quality childcare system considering we are spending less on childcare than we were in 1992 and that Alberta has the lowest childcare spending in the country."The report released Thursday by The Childcare Resource and Research Unit at the University of Toronto, Early childhood education and care in Canada 2004, by Martha Friendly, Jane Beach, demonstrates that there are only enough regulated childcare spaces for 9.3% of Alberta's children 0 – 6 years of age and Alberta is the only province in Canada to have fewer regulated childcare spaces available today then they did in1992. (For the full report visit http://www.childcarecanada.org/)"It is time for the Klein government to take its head out of the sand and recognize how important quality childcare is to working families," says Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour. "There are 118,000 preschool children in Alberta who have mothers in the paid work force, that is 54% of all young children in Alberta. If there is no quality childcare available or if it is too expensive, then families have no choice but to put their children into unregulated care."Public Interest Alberta launched a campaign just prior to Mother's day calling on the provincial government not to cut Alberta's children out of the National childcare program. With the support of many member organizations, people have been signing post cards and sending e-mail messages to the Minister of Children's Services from over 30 cities and towns around Alberta."We are delivering this 500 foot long string of postcards to the provincial legislature to tell the Alberta government that all children should be able to access quality early childhood education and care," says Kevin Kempt, chair of the Alberta Teachers' Association's Committee on the Well-Being of Children and Youth. "Teachers know how important it is that children are able to access early childhood education in order to be able to get the start they need."Evan Bly, a childcare worker at the King Edward Childcare Centre, says, "an agreement between the federal and provincial government must address the issue of the high turn-over and low pay of childcare workers if it is going to really improve the quality of the system. With a turn-over rate of up to 40% a year and earning less than a living wage, childcare workers do their best to provide quality education and care, but the government does not seem to value the importance of this work."- 30 -

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