Alberta Federation of Labour:Opinion

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It’s time to vote 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.

We are less than two weeks away from an election that will define how we move forward as a province. There are two very stark offers on the table and it is up to us to demand a path to universal childcare.

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. On April 16, vote for a Fair Start, vote for a universal Early Childhood Education and Care system.Sign up to our Fair Start Alberta campaign at www.fairstartalberta.ca.


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