Brief from the Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care (ECELC)
"Affordability of early learning and care (ELC) has been a concern in Alberta even before the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 crisis has, however, presented new challenges that may affect affordability in an important type of ELC in both Alberta and Edmonton: approved family day homes. Affordability is a measure of price relative to earnings, often expressed as a percentage of cost divided by income. For ELC, affordability reflects, in part, the cost of fees in relation to the household income of families and any programs that reduce cost for some families. In Edmonton, some key concerns of approved family day home educators, family day home agencies, and families with young children who attend day homes include:
- Day home educators with lower enrollment are concerned about how to manage the reduction in their income while keeping their fees the same.
- Agencies are concerned with covering their operating costs without raising their agency administration fees. The sudden decline in parental fee revenue due to decreased enrollment during the COVID-19 crisis presents financial challenges to agency operations, including staffing, rent, lease, and insurance costs.
- Families accessing ELC in day homes are concerned about any increases to fees, especially during the pandemic period when there is considerable economic uncertainty.
Questions remain about the affordability of ELC in day homes in Edmonton and Alberta during and after the COVID-19 crisis."