Early Learning and Care Opportunities Can Spur Economic Recovery

When we talk about building an affordable city that works for all ages, stages, and wages, we cannot overlook the critical role that early learning and care plays, or, the role of municipalities as partners. This is why I have advocated and voted for wrap-around services, community schools, and voted for the inclusion of childcare facilities into new school construction (such as the replacement school in Ritchie, Escuela Mill Creek)....

When we talk about building an affordable city that works for all ages, stages, and wages, we cannot overlook the critical role that early learning and care plays, or, the role of municipalities as partners. This is why I have advocated and voted for wrap-around services, community schools, and voted for the inclusion of childcare facilities into new school construction (such as the replacement school in Ritchie, Escuela Mill Creek)....

One of the most striking statistics that I have seen concerning the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the number of women who are not returning to the workforce. In Alberta, women were the hardest hit by COVID-19 due to their majority representation in the workforce of industries most affected by health restrictions (hospitality, retail), and despite employment gains throughout the summer, have not returned to their pre-pandemic employment levels
. One of the major contributing factors to women not returning to the labour force has been the lack of and access to high quality, affordable, accessible and inclusive early learning and child care (ELC) options

 

So, what can the City of Edmonton do to address this issue and help with post-pandemic economic recovery? 

 

One of my main priorities is to ensure that we build a safe, equitable and inclusive city for everyone and one of the ways to ensure healthy communities is to ensure everyone has access to early learning and child care options. My family has been able to access the services of an early learning centre and it has not only enriched the life and educational development of our child but it has allowed us to return to work earlier and without concern.

 

Though the municipality doesn’t regulate these facilities, that’s the purview of the province, we have a really important role to play in encouraging the establishment of and improving the delivery of ELCs. The city can do this by:

  • Ensuring that ELC options are built into existing and future planning opportunities, especially when we are looking at zoning bylaws, space usage agreements and other planning activities;
  • ELC options are integral to the successful implementation of the City Plan and to implementing 15-minute communities; and, 
  • Enabling the co-location of these facilities within existing buildings, facilities and organizations like our schools and post-secondary institutions. 

 

As the federal government and province negotiate whether to establish a $10/day day care in Alberta the City of Edmonton can be a strong advocate for the establishment of affordable, accessible and inclusive ELC options. Working with our school board trustees and other levels of government on this issue will ensure that no matter where you live in Edmonton you have access to early learning and child care options that are high quality and fit your budget. I know this is an important issue for many of the residents of papastew, it has been a huge benefit to my own family and I look forward to continuing to advocate for this within the community and, with your generous support, at the Council table.

 

 

References:

1) Statistics Canada. Labour Force Survey, July 2021. Online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210806/dq210806a-eng.htm.

2) Statistics Canada.  Survey of Early Learning and Child Care Arrangements, 2020. Online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210407/dq210407b-eng.htm. (Released April 2021).





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