Government funds being rolled out to child care programs and centres

It’s $87-million dollars of new funding which is part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan and the federal Safe Restart Agreement.

The first money came out in September and more will be rolled out in October and November.

Medicine Hat and District Child Care Association Coordinator Jennifer Usher says the Federal Safe Restart funds will definitely help our child care programs.

The funding amounts will vary for each centre.

Usher says it is based on the program’s licensed capacity. How far the funding will go in making programs viable depends on different circumstances like if they have loans, deferred payments, or are using the wage subsidy.

And she is not sure what we’ll see in the new year because programs are struggling with low and fluctuating enrolment and increased costs for staff and health and safety measures.

Adding, they are working hard nationally and provincially to ask the government to build a system that will support educators and children.

“That will support families, that will support programs. And right now I feel like this is the time. We want to build a system that can bounce back in times of crisis like we’re in right now. Right now we’re really struggling in childcare and I think we will see programs closing, I think we’ll see parent fees being raised at some point after some of these subsidies finish.”

Usher was recently appointed as the chairperson of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta (AECEA) and has also been a board member for a few years.

She says being with AECEA will link the southern perspective nationally through an affiliate membership with the Canadian Child Federation.

As for the government funding announced last month, Usher says centres do not have to apply for the money, and funding is given to them based on their licensed capacity.

And adds that there are not really any guidelines given for the federal restart money, and the centres can use the money as they choose.

“On the one hand, I think that’s a really good thing because each program has unique circumstances. On the other, it worries me a bit just because there isn’t really any follow up to check on what people are using this funding for,” Usher said.

Wagner, C., 2020. Government funds being rolled out to child care programs and centres. Chat News Today, [online] Available at: <https://chatnewstoday.ca/2020/10/01/government-funds-being-rolled-out-to-child-care-programs-and-centres/>.