EDMONTON - Yesterday, the federal government announced a historic investment into child care, proposing to spend an additional $30 billion over the next 5 years, with the goal of establishing a nation-wide $10 per day child care system. Today, Public Interest Alberta is demanding that the provincial government commit to the rollout of the federal program by upholding a 50-50 agreement to match half of the federal investment and ensure that every family in Alberta has access to high-quality, accessible, and affordable child care.
“This is wonderful news and long overdue,” said Brad Lafortune, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta, “Child care costs can be one the the largest household expenses - sometimes the same cost as mortgage or rent. Access to high-quality, accessible, and affordable child care is a proven method for lowering the rates at which children experience poverty and reducing barriers for women. This investment is a gamechanger for working families all over the country.”
Lafortune detailed how the child care sector has been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the provincial government’s decisions have made a bad situation worse for the sector, and for the families who rely on it.
“The child care sector continues to struggle with pandemic-related issues like full or partial closures or being forced to lay off staff,” said Lafortune. “The Kenney government, however, has failed children and families by undercutting our public services, and the child care sector specifically. They continue to maintain the significant cuts they’ve made to the child care sector over the past two years. In addition to ending massively successful pilots like the $25-a-day child care program, the Kenney government has cut grants like the Benefit Contribution Grant and the Staff Attraction Incentive which help operators hire and retain highly-trained staff. The result is that the largely woman-dominated profession and the families who rely on child care are worse off than before.”
“The Alberta government must reverse their pattern of undercutting the child care sector,” added Lafortune. “We call on the government to immediately commit to working with the federal government to implement a child care system with the guiding principles of affordable, accessible, and high-quality child care. We need investment into the sector, the facilities and the staff. The federal government’s commitment offers a once in a generation opportunity for us here in Alberta, but the work is far from done. All of us must organize to win the ultimate goal of universally-accessible, fully publicly-funded and publicly-delivered child care for every working family in Alberta.”
Public Interest Alberta has an ongoing campaign about the effects of poverty on children and the critical intervention of a universally-accessible, high-quality, and accessible child care sector. Add your voice to the fight against child poverty.