EDMONTON—Statistics released yesterday in a new national study on early childhood education in Canada by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, show that Alberta still provides the lowest support to childcare of all the provinces.The report shows that Alberta spent $195/child under 12 years of age (national average = $663/child), and only provides $1429 per licensed childcare space (national average = $3560).
“Albertans should be outraged that the Alberta government’s support for childcare is so low,” says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta, a provincial non-partisan advocacy organization. “While the government has taken a couple of good steps to increase the budget and finally provide funding for after school care, the fact remains that childcare is still very expensive and most quality childcare centres have very long waiting lists.”
The report also clearly shows that the number of licensed childcare spaces is not keeping pace with the needs of our growing population. The number of children below the age of 12 who have a mother in the work force has grown to 342,000 from 315,000 between 2003 to 2007.
“We have been saying for years that government needs a real plan to build an affordable and accessible public childcare system that will provide quality early learning and development opportunities for Alberta’s growing population,” says Moore-Kilgannon. “Alberta’s children are not below average, so Albertans should not accept below average support for their care and education needs.”