On Tuesday September 22 Rebecca Schulz, Alberta Minister of Children’s Services and Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development made a combined announcement that $87 million will be given in grants to Alberta childcare centre operators to help with re-opening.
The money is Alberta's share of a federal grant to help facilities across the country. The centres will now receive $200 per child up from $109 that they get now. Also, facilities will receive $2500 in October and November to help cover costs caused by the pandemic.
Child care operators were given the news in a town hall format the night before with Minister Schulz before the announcement was made public.
Tammie Comstock with TLC Preschool in Cochrane says, "They have given us lots of flexibility with it, which is one of the questions being asked last night on how and what. We can really use it to our discretion so if it's for extra cleaning supplies, if it's for some overhead costs that aren't being covered because numbers are low. To go towards helping staff get different protective gear those kind of things so it's pretty flexible on what we are able to use it for."
Likewise, Katherine Sutherland with Future Stars Daycare in Cochrane says, "It will help some. It's a nice amount of money to be able keep to put aside, in case we have a second wave." Of course the pandemic has increased the need for protocols, equipment and cleaning supplies. Sutherland says, "The products that we have to purchase gloves, masks. We probably use 500 gloves a month. We are purchasing literally two to three boxes a week for the staff to be able to stay healthy. You are probably spending a least $100 on gloves a week."
Tammie and Katherine were in agreement that the overall atmosphere of the town hall meeting was a positive atmosphere. While there were a lot of questions, all operators seemed to be happy and grateful for the funding.
Comstock says, "I felt so thankful when we got that call. It is definitely a blessing to have that come down the line for us to be able to help us to be able to provide services for the kiddos."