Alberta announces expanded childcare services for essential workers

Apr 1 2020, 5:09 pm

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney said the Alberta government is expanding childcare services to frontline workers in any areas outlined as essential.

The expansion is in addition to the services offered earlier last month to 15,000 children whose parents are working in healthcare on the front lines.

The province is working to expand eligibility for select licensed childcare centres.

“Access to child care should not be a barrier for those who are doing the work required to maintain essential services for all Albertans,” said Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services, in a release.

“We are grateful to the workers for continuing to get the job done and we thank those child care operators for stepping up to provide this important service.”

Parents who work in essential areas are able to contact the childcare centres that are open in their communities.

According to the province, childcare centres have reopened in Calgary, Edmonton, Devon, Fort McMurray, Fort Saskatchewan, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, and Stony Plain.

“The Alberta government is reopening spaces in four other communities and working with Municipal Affairs, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Rural Municipalities of Alberta to identify areas of need elsewhere,” says the release.

“The centres will be limited to 30 people, including staff, and will have to adhere to strict sanitization practices based on specific instructions from Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.”

Subsidies will be provided to parents who qualify, and the government says that as per Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, parents who are eligible should only access this childcare if it is the only way they will be able to go to their work in a core service sector.

Childcare centres will also be financially compensated for reopened spaces that are not filled, and they will receive up to $500 to go toward the purchase of cleaning supplies.

“All other licensed child care centres are to remain closed. Approved family day homes may remain open but limited to six children, not including the operators’ own children,” says the release.

More information on available childcare centres can be found online.