It’s time for Universal Early Learning and Child Care in Alberta
All children deserve a Fair Start in life. Yet, Alberta’s inconsistent, expensive, and incomplete delivery of child care means that many kids are being left behind. Fair Start Alberta is a campaign spearheaded by the Alberta Federation of Labour for universal early childhood education and care. The campaign highlights the benefits a system of universal child care would bring for Alberta’s kids, families, women and workers.
The Notley Government has recognized the importance of high-quality early childhood education and care with their pilot program of 7000 spaces across 122 non-profit Early Learning and Child Care Centres, in which $25-a-day care was initiated, along with a strong curriculum, staff training, wage top ups and other improvements to ensure high-quality care.
The Notley Government has also gone a step further to deliver a clear child care platform they intend to deliver if re-elected. They plan to phase-in an expansion of the $25-a-day child care to all current child care spaces and add 13,000 new spaces over 5 years. This plan delivers on the issues we have been lobbying all political parties on; specifically a commitment to expanding the $25 per day Early Learning and Child Care Centres pilot program so that it is accessible to all families, and to show us a concrete plan with clear timelines to get Alberta to a universal system.
In comparison, Jason Kenney has offered absolutely no plan on child care. The UCP platform released on March 30, 2019 offers zero explanation of their plan for child care. When asked his position on child care in follow-up interviews, Jason Kenney has said the UCP will “maintain current child care supports and create new spaces by cutting red tape on operators, while not jeopardizing safety”. It begs the questions what regulations can be cut that will not jeopardize the safety of our children.
For Albertans who want to support child care the choice in this election is clear. The stakes have never been higher when it comes to finally achieving universal child care in our province.
Later this spring, we will be launching the fourth phase of our campaign which concentrates on a Fair Start for Women. We know that universal access to early childhood education and care creates opportunities for women to participate in and contribute to our society fairly and fully - through workforce participation, educational attainment, as well as volunteer service, community membership, and enhanced economic participation as wage earners and consumer spenders.
On July 7th, we will be hosting our annual Fair Start Community BBQs in Calgary, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Red Deer and St. Albert. These family friendly events are for all workers, union and non-union, and their families, to get together and to discuss the importance of early childhood education and care. We anticipate another year of exciting events, providing information regarding a Fair Start for Women, as well as providing a picnic lunch, bouncy castles, crafts and face painting - all at no charge. We hope you can join us.
The Fair Start campaign is reachable through the Alberta Federation of Labour at:
#300, 10408 124 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5N 1R5