Text of the press release:
"The horrible tragedy of a toddler dying today from inuries received at a day home in Medicine Hat is the latest news that shows why it is so important for the Alberta government to do a complete review of what type of childcare system we should be building," says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.
"Rather than just focusing on the individual tragedies when they happen, it is imperative that we take the time to look at how we can improve the whole system so that families can be assured of getting high quality and affordable care and education for their children."
Some issues that need to be addressed:
- The Alberta government has cut $7.5 million dollars out of this year's childcare budget (a cut of 3.6%) even though we already have the lowest childcare spending in Canada.
- Our accreditation system is supposed to increase the quality of care in day homes and care centres, but parents are not made aware if a childcare centre fails to pass accreditation. The Stony Day Care tried to get accredited earlier this year, and was told in March that they failed for many reasons. Only months later when a complaint was received did the government react and investigate the centre.
- The lack of public funding and our market-based childcare system mean childcare staff are poorly paid, and often do not have enough early childhood education training, resulting in high staff turnover in many poor quality centres.
- Edleun Group Inc., a new company run by Texas businessmen, has raised a significant amount of money on the TSX Venture Exchange, and has announced plans to purchase 6 more centres in Alberta (for a total of 17 Centres). Their financial prospectus reveals they plan to takeover more than 800 childcare centres across Canada in the next six years. It also shows how the corporate expenses and high executive salaries and bonuses had made its predecessor (123 Busy Beavers) lose over $2 million in the last two years.
"We are calling upon Yvonne Fritz, the new Minister of Children Services to commit to a complete review of our childcare system," concluded Moore-Kilgannon.