AECEA, in partnership with provincial stakeholder groups and federal organizations, has been working hard on advocacy efforts to support early learning and child care programs and early childhood educators in Alberta. Please find a summary of the efforts made so far in response to the COVID-19 pandemic below. We ask for your support for these advocacy efforts. If you agree that there needs to be additional supports for programs and educators, please join in to the #ChildCareMattersAlberta campaign and use this hashtag in your social media commentary. We also ask that you consent to us adding your email address to our mailing list so we can keep you up to date on future advocacy work.
What has AECEA been doing on your behalf?
On May 8, 2020, AECEA issued a press release asking the Province of Alberta to work with and consult the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) sector to address the complex quality, safety and sustainability challenges facing child care programs as they begin to re-open services and reconstruct the province from the COVID-19 lockdown.
On May 7, 2020, AECEA sent a letter to the Minister of Children's Services, Rebecca Schultz, calling for further supports and investment in the child care sector.
On May 6, 2020, the Ministry of Children's Services released that $17.8 million in relief funding will be made available for child care programs.
On April 30, 2020, AECEA shared the case study report with the Minister of Children's Services.
From April 22-28, 2020, AECEA worked on nine case studies to better understand the impact as well as what types of additional supports programs would require during the pandemic and when programs are allowed to open.
On April 22, 2020, Minister Schulz's Chief of Staff, Brock Harrison reached out to AECEA asking if we know the number of programs who lease/rent vs. own/mortgage to help guide some decisions around the emergency commercial rent assistance program. From there, AECEA launched a poll to gather further information to share with the ministry. The poll will close on April 24, 2020 at 4:30 PM.
On April 16, 2020, AECEA was pleased to be able to discuss the temporary emergency operating allowance and the reasons why the currently available federal and provincial supports are not a viable option for child care programs with Minister Schultz’s Chief of Staff, Brock Harrison. AECEA will be following up with Mr. Harrison within the week with further evidence to support the urgency of implementing a temporary emergency operating allowance.
On April 14, 2020, the Minister responded further on Twitter stating that "We've committed support but holding available budget for now will allow us to be smarter w/ it when the crisis subsides.
On April 13, 2020, the Minister responded with a letter that directed us to available federal business supports and stated that the ministry's focus is on providing child care to essential services workers.
On April 8, 2020, AECEA, along with 14 other organizations, submitted a letter to Minister Rebecca Schulz, Deputy Minister Darlene Bouwsema, leader of the opposition, Rachel Notley, and the NDP children services critic, MLA Rakhi Pancholi. AECEA and its partners have asked the Children’s Services Minister for the following:
A temporary emergency operating allowance to be provided to all centre-based child cares, preschools and out-of-school care programs required to close during the pandemic. A temporary emergency operating allowance equal to a maximum of 20 percent of the average cost of a licensed space would enable the majority of organizations to remain financially viable as we plan for the recovery of service delivery.
On April 1, 2020. AECEA launched a new survey to gather information on child care program operating costs. When the survey was closed on April 3, 2020, it had garnered 324 responses, including 218 from child care centres, 44 from preschools, and 62 from out-of-school-care programs. The results were sobering.
On March 23, 2020, AECEA sent recommendations to the Minister of Children's Services - Rebecca Schulz - on how to best support the early learning and child care field through this crisis. Unfortunately, the minister chose not to respond to this letter.
What can you do to support AECEA's advocacy?
AECEA acts as an amplifier to your individual advocacy efforts. Some things that you can do to boost our collective voice and stay connected are listed below.
- Start using the hashtag #ChildCareMattersAlberta on your social media posts and share how COVID-19 is impacting you and your work
- Share our letters and documents with your local MLA and ask for them to put pressure on Minister Schulz for action to support the child care field through this crisis
- Write a letter to the minister with your support for AECEA's recommendations.
- As shown in this table, Alberta is the only province not providing support for programs who are closed.
- Key points to consider:
- A temporary emergency operating allowance equal to a maximum of 20 percent of the average cost of a licensed space would enable the majority of organizations to remain financially viable as we plan for the recovery of service delivery.
- The temporary emergency operating allowance could be funded through monies already approved in the Children's Services Budget.
- The current supports identified by Minister Schulz (deferred payments and loans) will cause programs to go into further debt if they can re-open. These costs will likely have to be covered by increased parent fees.
- On April 14, 2020, the Canadian Child Care Federation, Child Care Now, and the Childcare Resource and Research Unit submitted a proposal to the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, for supports specific to the early learning and child care field. They are asking for individuals and businesses to support their plan. To show your support, please complete the form at https://childcareforall.ca/.
- Join AECEA on Facebook and Twitter
- Join AECEA's emailing list
- Attend one of AECEA's webinars
- Join AECEA as a member, professional membership is now available via instalment payment and annual payment, associate and student memberships are available via annual payment
What supports are available to me already?
AECEA has compiled all of the currently available provincial and federal financial supports available, these pages are being updated as further information is made available.
At some point in our lives we all have stressful times. We can be impacted by such things as financial pressures, unexpected difficulties, unemployment, or stressful situations such as the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
AECEA is gathering information on further resources and articles related to COVID-19 that may interest you.