March 5th, 2024

Some Alberta daycares start ‘rolling closures’ to protest $10-a-day program: group

By Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press on January 30, 2024.

An advocacy group representing daycares in Alberta says some operators are starting a series of "rolling closures" across the province today to push for changes to the $10-a-day childcare program. Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jenna Sudds rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

CALGARY – Some daycare operators in Alberta have started “rolling closures” to push for changes to the $10-a-day child-care program, an advocacy group said Tuesday.

The Association of Alberta Childcare Entrepreneurs said in a news release that the closures at daycares across the province are a direct response to challenges with the program’s implementation.

Krystal Churcher, chair of the association, said it’s “leading us down a path where the quality and choice of child care in Alberta are at risk, with potential unintended consequences for children and families.”

No one from Alberta Children and Family Services immediately responded to a request for comment on the closures.

But Federal Families Minister Jenna Sudds said she’s keeping a close eye on what’s happening in Alberta.

“All provinces and territories have signed onto these historic agreements to ensure that we can collectively move forward with building this national child-care system,” she told reporters Tuesday in Ottawa.

“We fully expect that all provinces and territories will execute on their agreements, they’ll follow through on the commitments and I’m sure Alberta will be no exception to that.”

Alberta’s Opposition NDP said operators, parents and advocates have been telling the United Conservative government for years that its formula is broken.

“They refused to listen,” Diana Batten, the NDP critic for child care, said Tuesday in a statement. “It is the government’s job to listen to the people in this province and the UCP has failed, once again.”

Batten said the Alberta government hasn’t invested anything new to support the program.

“It shouldn’t have to come to this,” she said. “Child-care providers shouldn’t have to shut their doors, leaving families without options, just to get the government’s attention.”

Operators in multiple provinces have threatened to pull out of the national child-care system or even close their doors. They say the federal-provincial agreements limit the fees they can charge without enough support to cover all their costs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2024.

– With files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa.

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