UCP proposes changes to child care

EDMONTON — The Alberta government wants to change the rules around child care in the province after a consultation with 10,000 parents, caregivers, educators and daycares.

Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Shultz says the bill will bring in a new way to license and monitor daycares.

The risk-based model would still see inspectors check on all facilities but would have them focus more on new centres and on those struggling to meet rules and standards.

“We’ve worked with child care operators and educators to improve the standard care for children and create a more modern and flexible approach to child care programs,” said Shultz. “We want less paper work for operators so they can spend more time supporting children.”

Centres would also be able to provide overnight child care.

“Proposed amendments centre on quality childcare, protecting the health and safety of children, increasing transparency, accessibility and flexibility, reducing red tape and modernizing this act,” said Shultz.

The opposition says the UCP have ignored what centres have asked for, higher qualifications for educators and operators.

“When we look at the new act, the amendment that was tabled today by the minister, we see that there’s no recognition of the same accreditation standards for quality that were set out earlier this year that were cancelled,” said NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi.

Pancholi says the accreditation standards included quality of education for staff, a strong curriculum, and collaboration.

“If there was an intention to incorporate quality early learning into legislation and requirements we would’ve seen it in the act,” said Pancholi.

Alberta has about 2,900 active licensed and approved child care programs in Alberta, employing about 19,000 people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current enrollment is only about 50 per cent.

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