Media releases | December 13, 2007

EDMONTON—“While Premier Stelmach is saying he has completed his goals to provide quality childcare for Alberta, the reality is that Alberta continues to provide the lowest support for childcare in Canada,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.  “The provincial government’s real record on childcare leaves far too many families with young children with no options but adding their names to long waiting lists or putting their children into unregulated care.”

The national study released on December 7th 2007 from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit at the University of Toronto, Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2006, shows that Alberta spends the lowest amount per capita on childcare and the lowest amount for each regulated childcare space. ($1093 compared to the national average of $3259) (See table 31 for details).

“The provincial government has made some important steps in the last couple of years with its five-point plan for childcare and the accreditation system, but the study shows that while every other province has increased access to regulated childcare, Albertans actually have less access to regulated childcare now than they did in 1991” (9.3% compared to 9.7% in 1992) said Noreen Murphy, Executive Director of Churchill Park Family Care Society in Calgary. “With the growth in Alberta’s population combined with inadequate investment and support, it should be no surprise that we have such extensive waiting lists to get into quality childcare throughout Alberta.” (See table 27 for details)

“The government needs to do more than just put a tick in the box and say that the premier’s instructions to the minister were followed. To address the real-world situation of Alberta’s families, they need to come up with a comprehensive and fully-supported plan to provide quality, affordable childcare and early childhood education for all families that need it,” adds Moore-Kilgannon. “Over two thirds of Alberta mothers with children under six years of age are in the workforce – but only 9.3% of them have access to regulated child care. This clearly means that thousands of families are left with no access to regulated quality care, and that’s completely unacceptable in this province.” (See table 25 for details)

Public Interest Alberta has filed an access to information request with the provincial government to find out what has happened to the $25.9 million dollars the province received from the federal government this summer to create more childcare spaces.

PIA is also calling on concerned Albertans to speak to their MLAs about the need for the provincial government to greatly increase support for early childhood education and childcare, and to make childcare an important issue in the upcoming provincial election.

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