Notes from the MLA: Making childcare more accessible

Danielle Larivee
MLA for Lesser Slave Lake

One of the biggest challenges facing working families in Lesser Slave Lake and across the province is the cost of childcare. I recognize, and our government recognizes, the need to make childcare more affordable for all Albertans.
I’m proud to be able to tell you that in June, I was in Ottawa to sign the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework with my counterparts from the federal, provincial and territorial governments.
This agreement sets the foundation for a vision we share where all children in this country, regardless of their circumstances, can take part in quality early learning and child-care programs. The federal government’s commitment of $7.5 billion over 11 years is going to help us make the vision a reality.
For too long, especially here in Alberta, parents have struggled with the cost of child care, which is why we’re investing in our children to give them the best possible start in live. Our government is committed to expanding affordable child care, and this framework will support that goal.
Over the summer we’ll be working with the federal government to come to a bi-lateral agreement that will spell out how that funding is going to support high-quality, affordable childcare in Alberta. By working directly with the federal government, we’ll be able to put this funding to use in a way that will meet Alberta’s unique needs, both in the urban and rural contexts.
We’re still working on some of the finer details of this agreement, and don’t yet have exact dates on when it will be finished, but I’m looking forward to updating Albertans on this work in the coming months.
But our work on affordable childcare spaces didn’t begin with signing this agreement. In April, Premier Rachel Notley and I announced the locations of 22 new and existing programs that will provide quality child care for $25 a day. We’re taking a leadership role on making life more affordable for parents and families.
These pilot projects, some in cities and others in rural communities, will help us understand how we can provide these opportunities to all Albertans, including those of us in Lesser Slave Lake. This is just the first step.
We will be watching closely how these programs evolve, and will apply what we learn towards our commitment to make affordable child care a reality for all parents in Alberta as the province’s finances permit.
Our government has chosen to invest in working families and in our children because we know how important it is to you. And it’s important to me as well.
As a mother, I know exactly how important the place you drop your kids off every day is. When we say “Goodbye!” and “I love you” in the morning, we expect our kids will be given the nurturing support they need to grow and thrive.
I want to be clear: we committed to expanding affordable early learning and child care when finances permit, and this support from the federal government will support that goal.
In the meantime, we will continue to make important investments in child care subsidies, supports for early learning professionals, and programs like the Alberta Child Benefit, so that parents are supported to give their children the opportunities they deserve.

 

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