Share your voice

What do you think about...

  • The cost & availability of childcare in Alberta?
  • The involvement of large corporations in childcare?
  • What should Alberta do to improve quality, access and affordability of childcare?

Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comments (5)

One more thought…corporatized childcare is kind of like McDonalds. Quality is necessarily compromised to maximize shareholder benefits. This seems plain wrong, when the only place the funds should be going is back in to the programs to support children’s development. It is disturbing that this is also happening in senior care. It seems that the very young and the very old are punished for not contributing to the economy.
That aside, I would be interested to know more about why there aren’t more not for profit centres. Is the support inadequate for this type of venture?
It is worth looking at countries such Sweden and the Netherlands where early childhood is more of a priority. In Scandinavian countries, there is an established early childhood curriculum, and childcare is viewed as essential to socialization of children. Of course, those countries have an adequate tax base to support their early childhood programs and a socialist policy framework. Apparently, citizens generally think that the investment in childcare is worth it. Sadly, in Canada, there is no indication that the provincial and federal governments are willing to learn from other nations who are doing a good job on childcare. Their message to parents is crystal clear, “It’s YOUR problem!” How do we get elected officials to realize this issue is all about the greater good?

It is ironic that I am looking at ways to take action on childcare issues now, at this point in my life. My child, who was once in childcare, is now 22. I remember how essential having quality childcare was and how fortunate I feel that I was able to eventually find it. Hoever, it was a struggle and an effort to secure it at the time. We tried a few centres while we were on the waiting list for the daycare centre on the U of C campus. I did manage to get my son in there when he was 3 and half years old and it was a wonderful experience for both of us. Somehow, until he got in to the campus centre, I managed in the interim with the support of family, makeshift arrangements and becoming a caregiver myself during the summer months.

What is striking about this now, in retrospect is the amount of tenacity and advocacy my childcare search and obtaining subsidy required. If I had to undertake this process again now, I don’t know if I would have the stamina. I think this because of the countless stories I hear about how difficult things have become. What is most sad to me is that families who are already struggling with inadequate resources are getting the run around and that all parents have very few accredited centres to choose from. For families already subject to stress due to poverty, this is one battle too many.
I have also explored other complexities. Another issue that really concerns me is the welfare of child care workers and how they are often not getting a living wage for the valuable work that they do. It has become clear to me is how the issue of classism is embedded at all intersections.

I would like to join in and be part of the solution. Once a mom, always a mom – and there are no shortage of things to worry about when it comes to our (collective) children’s welfare. My biggest question is, “What can I do to help, and where does improving things start?

I am fortunate to live in Calgary's inner city and have a friendly and well-maintained neighbourhood daycare in the area. I am also lucky that they have raised the income level to qualify for the subsidy, as I work part-time with a not for profit and my husband is a student at Mount Royal. It is unfortunate that in my experience, the child care subsidy office is so understaffed and backlogged that even parents who qualify end up having to jump through so many hoops that it is difficult to secure stable rates that families of lower incomes can depend on.

Early learning childcare is incredibly expensive - talk about privatized learning - if you can afford it, then your kids will get 'the best' care. Now there is talk of cutting more teachers, just as our first son is on the cusp of starting school. Again - Kindergarten is early learning and the cuts keep coming. How sad.

I had the opportunity to listen to Bill Moore-Kilgannon on CBC radio today, and I want to thank you for your thoughtful, well-articulated perspectives on the need for more accessible, affordable child care options in Alberta. What a relief that someone is advocating for all Albertan families! As a mother of 6 year old twins, and a 2 year old living in Calgary, I have utilized several formal and informal child care options with varying success. Specifically, I have been a full-time stay-at-home mom, worked part-time with a non-accredited day home, and worked full-time and part-time with a live-in caregiver. With respect to the dayhomes, one was wonderful. The second was of dubious quality - despite an in-home visit & interview, and positive reference checks. My preference was to find an accredited day home, however it was impossible to find 2 accredited part-time spots for my twins. Most accredited day homes were full, and only offered single full-time spots. With respect to our live-in caregiver, I screened hundreds of applicants to find a good fit for our family. Despite my diligent efforts to screen for someone who could meet my standards, the caregiver we hired was not a good fit in our family and gave notice after only 8 months. Currently, I work part-time. My twin boys attend a non-profit, accredited before and after school care program, and my daughter attends an accredited daycare 4 days per week. I pay $690 per month for my twins (total), and $1120 per month for my daughter. As such, our family's monthly child care total is $1810 (which accounts for more than half of my net monthly pay). Of course I am enviable of Quebec's child care costs of $7 per day (A 60+% savings at first glance). Not only is child care costly in Alberta, it is not accessible by any means. When my boys were toddlers and preschoolers, I was desperate to find accredited, affordable, part-time child care for them. The single daycare in our area which offered part-time care charged a premium rate for this option (i.e. its' part-time rates were not pro-rated). I was unable to access affordable, part-time care, so I continued to look after my twins full-time despite feeling burnt out. More recently, I put my daughter on a couple of daycare waitlists when she was 14 months old. At 33 months, she is still on one of the wailists as they have no availability for her. Furthermore, they may not have an opening until she is at least 3.5! I agree that if we want to promote healthy families, healthy children, and consequently a healthier society, we need to have a variety of affordable, accredited, child care options for drop-in, part-time, and full-time care. It is shocking to me that the Alberta government is not investing more heavily in our next generation of citizens.

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