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Parents' views about the accessibility of early learning and child care in Alberta

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Report 3 on the Alberta Parent Survey on Early Learning and Child Care
Martin, M., Ip, P. L., Bisanz, J., Lees, L., & Smith, C.
Publication Date: 
1 Jun 2024


Federal and provincial governments have embarked on a major initiative to build systems of early learning and child care (ELCC) across Canada that meet high standards for quality, affordability, accessibility, inclusion, and flexibility. As part of this initiative, the Alberta government committed to creating 68,700 new ELCC spaces by 2025/2026. The success of this initiative will depend in part on the extent to which changes to ELCC align with the views and preferences of parents.

To assist in understanding parents’ views and preferences, a survey was conducted with over 1400 parents in Alberta who had children younger than six years of age. Parents responded to a wide range of questions about ELCC. The present report, one in a series of reports based on the survey, is focused on accessibility. Parents in Alberta made decisions about their current child care arrangements based on accessibility-related factors, experienced a range of accessibility-related difficulties and consequences, and had concerns about the accessibility of ELCC in their communities.

We recommend that the Alberta provincial government: (1) regularly and systematically gather information to understand parents’ views and preferences regarding the location of ELCC; (2) develop a sustainable process for understanding and responding to the supply and demand for ELCC spaces; and (3) create a public strategy for improving ELCC space creation and allocation.