New legislation supports safe, accessible and high-quality child care (video)

Provincial Press Release October 28, 2020 @ 3:14pm published at 3:30PM

After the first consultation in more than a decade, Alberta’s government is proposing new legislation and regulation to reduce red tape and improve accessibility of child care. 

This legislation will work towards more flexibility and transparency for parents, simplify language and rules for operators, and increase quality and safety in child care programs.

“We’ve worked with child care operators and educators to improve the standard care for children and create a more modern and flexible approach to child care programs. We want less paper work for operators so they can spend more time supporting children.” Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services

“I’ve worked in child care for 32 years, and never before have I been consulted—and listened to—in the way that I have by this government and this Minister. I can definitively say that the updates to the Child Care Licensing Act will improve the safety and quality of child care while decreasing unnecessary burdens on parents and operators. These changes are much-needed and very welcome in child care.” Tricia Cunningham, Executive Director, SIGIS Child Care Society, St. Albert

Led by Minister Tracy Allard, the first broad consultation in more than a decade solicited feedback from parents and caregivers, early childhood educators, child care operators and directors, and licensing staff, into legislation and regulations. Much of this feedback is reflected in common sense changes to staff-to-child ratios, the name of the act, and rules around outdoor space and outings.

“I was pleased to lead the engagement on the Child Care Licensing Act and Regulation review. During the consultation I heard repeatedly that Alberta’s child care legislation needs to be flexible and adaptive to meet the challenges of our current time. I’m confident the proposed changes will ensure the well-being, safety and development of children.” Tracy Allard, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Key changes

If passed, the proposed the Early Learning and Child Care Act will make key changes that will:

  • Improve transparency for parents

  • Implement risk-based licensing so that licensing teams can focus more time on programs needing support

  • Encourage digital record-keeping.

  • Replace previous accreditation standards with new guiding principles in legislation, including quality, safety, well-being, inclusion, and child development.

  • Simplify and clarify language and rules for operators

  • Allow 24 hour/overnight child care.

  • Provide updated resources for parents and operators.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. Making sure parents have quality, accessible, and affordable choices when it comes to childcare is an important part of getting parents back to work.

Quick facts

  • Under Alberta’s Recovery Plan and the federal government’s Safe Restart Agreement Funding, about $99 million is going to support providers to maintain a strong, safe and accessible child care sector in Alberta.

  • Consultation on the legislation and regulations gathered information from about 10,000 Albertans, including parents and caregivers, early childhood educators, child care operators and directors, and licensing officers.

  • As of October 9, 2020, there are 2,701 daycares, out-of-school care and preschools open (94 per cent) with 111,252 spaces available. A total of 56,009 children have enrolled, representing an overall enrolment rate of 50 per cent.

  • There are about 2,900 active licensed/approved programs in Alberta, employing about 18,800 Albertans prior to the pandemic.

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