News | January 26, 2016

The Canadian Child Care Federation has launched a letter writing campaign to provincial/territorial and federal ministers around child care programs and services across the country.

Please use the text below, provided by the CCCF, to contact the Ministry of Human Services and the Ministry of Families, Children, and Social Development. Contact information below.

For more information, please refer to the Canadian Child Care Federation website

Public Interest Alberta's Childcare Task Force is made up of Alberta residents concerned for the wellbeing of child care and supports for families across the province. For more information on the Childcare Task Force, see their page on our website, here.

Dear Hon. Irfan Sabir, Minister of Human Services,

On the eve of the first provincial minister's meeting to be held in 10 years, the opportunity for substantive, systemic change for Alberta's child care system is upon us. For families and children, the time to be a part of a national plan, addressing the long-standing and all too commons themes of accessibility, affordability, developmental and quality child care as as critical today as they have ever been.

We are inspired, along with our colleagues across Canada, by the federal government's renewed commitment to work with the provinces, territories, and indigenous peoples to create a National Early Learning and Child Care framework. We look forward to Alberta being a significant part of these urgent conversations. Lack of affordable child care space is a burden on families and a barrier to a healthy, competitive Canadian workforce.

In Canada today, there are not enough child care spaces for families - particularly the regulated spaces shown by research to be of higher quality - only about 22% of Canadian children who need child care can find licensed spaces. With over 70% of mothers working and contributing to the workforce, the child care situation in Canada today is at a point of crisis - parents in many cities face waiting lists of more than two years for regulated spaces and a recent reported from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives notes that child care fees in most cities are at alarming rates.

Child care must be made affordable - right now child care is the second highest household expense for Canadian families. This lack of affordability and availability of child care spaces puts families between a rock and a hard place - losing jobs, not filling current jobs, losing out on educational opportunities of furthering their education and surmounting financial risks and pressures. Without affordable child care, families cannot work and this also reduces their disposable income and contributions to the tax base, further compounding risks to provincial/territorial and national economies. The current patchwork of child care programs and services across the country doesn't work for families.

High fees and hard-to-find child care spaces straining household budgets, keep women out of the work force, and ignore the realities about what families in Canada really look like. Much like healthcare and public education, we believe the federal government has a role to provide adequate and sustained support to the provinces and territories to provide quality, universal child care all families can afford. In addition to creating affordable child care spaces with public funding, we also need an accompanying workforce strategy to ensure that we have a well-educated and well compensated child care workforce.

In order to enhance early learning and child care systems, meet the growing demands and ensure quality; we need adequate financial, physical, and human resources for:

  • adequate wages and working conditions for early learning and child care practitioners
  • essential ongoing education and professional development for early learning and child care practitioners at all levels
  • appropriate infrastructure support, including funding to facilities, programming, curriculum development and early learning and child care associations

Canada's social infrastructure fund has many priorities, and this is where we believe that quality, affordable and accessible child care is the back bone of Canadian society. The need to move forward for children is long overdue. We thank you in advance for future collaboration with us as we work together to build a national early learning and child care system. Our children and families deserve it, the economy depends on it, and society requires it.

Sincerely,

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