A daycare pilot program for Alberta launched in 2017 is about to wrap up.
Introduced the by NDP, $25-a-day daycare comes to an end on April 1.
“When we first told families that they were going to get this decrease on their fees, we had parents in tears,” said Candace Stecyk, general manager of Child Care Services for YMCA Northern Alberta.
“It helped families with the opportunity to be able to afford child care.”
The YMCA had 19 centres across Alberta that were part of the pilot program. Many places had long waitlists.
“No one should have to pay half or more of their paycheck to have child care just so they could go to work,” Stecyk said.
The provincial government has said the pilot program would not be renewed.
On Thursday, Alberta’s Children’s Services minister announced nearly $10 million in grants to create 1,500 new licensed spaces in day homes and daycares, including overnight care.
“Our government is committed to accessible, affordable, high-quality child care that works for Alberta parents and the choices they make for their families,” Rebecca Schulz said in a statement.
“We know that access to quality child care options is essential for parents to get back to work and for our economic recovery.”
“Former $25-a-day centres that were serving particularly vulnerable families received grants to ensure those families do not fall through the cracks and Children’s Services is always here to assist parents find a child care solution that fits their needs – whether it’s in a day home or in one of our 2,800 licensed child care centres across the province, or part-time through preschool or out-of-school care.”
The NDP Children’s Services critic says Thursday’s funding announcement is a “re-announcement of federal money already announced last summer.”
“This represents a lack of legitimate support from Jason Kenney in this critical area.
“This money was rushed out the door to save face before the government ends the successful $25-per-day pilot program introduced by the NDP,” Rakhi Pancholi said in a statement.
“Creating new spaces without addressing affordability shows the UCP does not understand what is needed to get Alberta parents back to work.”