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Changes to Alberta child care facilities

Last Updated Oct 28, 2020 at 3:58 pm MST

Natacha Beim, CEO and founder of CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning, hugs a child as they prepare for nap time at a CEFA daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

EDMONTON – The UCP government is tabling a bill to enact some changes to child care facilities.

The Early Learning and Child Care Act would implement a risk-based licensing system, encourage digital record-keeping, allow 24 hour/overnight child care services, and replace the current accreditation process.

“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 paperwork for operators so they can spend more time supporting children,” Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz said in a statement.

She explained a risk-based system would still have agents check on facilities, but the frequency of visits will change depending on the centre’s performance.

So, if a centre has a perfect track record with few concerns raised, they won’t be checked on as often as centres that have more complaints.

“My question is we have five different types of licenses and then we have 800 exceptions every year to the various licenses, so why don’t we just update our act?” Schulz said. “So, now we have two. You are a licensed facility-based centre, or you are a licensed home-based centre or provider.”

If passed, the act will come into effect on February 1, 2021.

Previously, care centres were not permitted to offer 24 hour or overnight child care. The new legislation would allow it.

Schulz added that they consulted with around 10,000 Albertans, including child care operators and parents, before making this decision. She explained it would reduce confusion and red tape.

In a statement to 660 NEWS, the Ministry of Children’s Services said they expect eliminating “onerous requirements like paperwork retention” will result in savings for the child care sector.

As of October, 2,701 daycares, out-of-school care centres, and pre-schools have opened up. Over 56,000 children have been enrolled.