Early childhood care is federal election issue

Early childhood care is federal election issue

Wetaskiwin voters should be asking candidates about childcare

Canada is a little over a month away from the federal election and the main political parties are beginning to roll out their platforms. One issue that needs to be on the mind of Canadians in the run-up to the October 21 federal election is quality child care and how different parties plan to address the significant need for further planning and investment for the early learning and care sector.

Quality child care and the early childhood educators who provide this critical service must be considered with any economic plan at both the federal and provincial levels. Supporting the early learning and child care workforce has many positive benefits for children, families and Alberta as a whole. An educated early learning and child care workforce is in a better position to meet the complex, growing needs of our children, developing a foundation for all future learning and development. It is already an issue bubbling over in all provinces and territories.

On August 20, the Manitoba Child Care Association held a gathering that drew hundreds of families together in support of better child care. The intent was to draw further attention to early childhood education programs in the province and the crucial need for a better funding model, greater affordability, accessibility, quality, and a well-supported workforce. Alberta faces many of the same issues as Manitoba. In fact, most, if not all, of the provinces and territories struggle with a need for additional high-quality child care spaces.

Not only are there not enough child care spaces, the cost is out of reach for many families. In Edmonton the median annual child care cost for one child is between $10,600 to $11,880. In Calgary, this number rises to upward of $15,000 annually, approximately double the yearly tuition cost of many post- secondary programs. Families continue to struggle to balance work and family commitments, limiting the ability for both parents to remain in the workforce, especially families with multiple children. Child care spaces must be affordable and accessible for families wherever they live and no matter their circumstance; affordability, however, often conflicts with quality provision. Accessibility and quality are reliant on an educated and competent workforce that is well remunerated and supported for the important work they do .

Provinces continue to struggle to recruit and retain qualified early childhood educators and the graduation numbers are not enough to fill the gap. In Alberta, staff turnover rates are high and the percentage of licensed child care programs non-compliant with the Child Care Licensing Act and Regulation is approximately 27% (Children’s Services Business Plan 2017-20). The cost to organizations/businesses is significant; the cost to children, families and Alberta’s other systems (Education, Health, Justice) are even more significant.

Too often we hear from women having to give up their own profession as they are unable to find or afford child care. Alberta needs these women in the workforce for many reasons, but most importantly to contribute to its economy. For example, while Alberta’s labour force participation for those aged 25-64 is 84.8 per cent, its labour force participation rate for women lags significantly behind. In 2017, approximately 72 per cent of female workers were employed full-time in Alberta compared to 89.5 per cent of male workers.

Federally, political parties need to show a commitment to early childhood educator workforce planning and increasing investment in early learning and child care to help make labour force participation or completion of studies more affordable for families. High-quality child care helps to build strong communities, helps newcomers integrate into their new communities, fosters appreciation and respect for diversity, helping young children engage and contribute to their own communities, now and in the future.

-Submitted by Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Image curtesy Metro Creative Connection
County of Wetaskiwin addresses unpaid oil and gas taxes

The County of Wetaskiwin is addressing unpaid oil and gas taxes and… Continue reading

file photo
County Council discusses new tax incentives for non-residential properties

County of Wetaskiwin Council discussed new tax incentives for non-residential properties at… Continue reading

Screen grab/ Government of Alberta COVID-19 aggregate data map
City of Wetaskiwin down to just five active cases

Active COVID-19 cases in the City of Wetaskiwin continue to decline.

A health-care worker looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province, Monday, March 1, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada this week: Anand

Anita Anand says she’s received assurances from the vaccine manufacturer

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Maskwacis virtual job fair
MEC goes virtual with job fair and services during pandemic

By Chevi Rabbit For Ponoka News Maskwacis Employment Center’s (MEC’s) semi-annual job… Continue reading

hands
The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

Many rural seniors are having to travel a long way to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Stettler residents are being told to go to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose. (Black Press file photo).
Rural central Alberta seniors have to travel far to get vaccines

Stettler residents are being directed to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose clinics

Most Read