By Letter to the Editor on December 27, 2019.
In the midst of devastating cuts to health care and education, another cut has been announced which threatens to hurt in less obvious, but impactful ways.
A Dec. 11 announcement from the Alberta government told child-care providers that they would be losing two of the benefits they count on to attract and keep qualified staff. The Benefit Contribution Grant and the Staff Attraction Incentive programs were cut, leaving this burden on the backs of daycares and after-school care programs, parents, and ultimately kids.
Child-care educators deserve a fair wage and all children deserve to be cared for by well-trained, safe and caring adults. Both are under attack by these cuts.
We have excellent and highly qualified children’s educators in our city: our education and Child and Youth Studies programs in particular train excellent caregivers. These educators care so deeply for our children – they’re ready with a Band-Aid, a hug, a high five or a listening ear to help kids regulate big feelings, they hold space for play so little brains can build skills, they teach compassion and kindness, they prepare kids to be successful at school and ultimately, at life.
Early-learning opportunities are essential for our broader community – well-cared-for kids means fewer social and economic problems down the road. Educators are an essential part of the team for so many families who need all parents to work to make ends meet, and are an essential part of our community’s long-term success.
When there are cuts to wages of people who work for the public good, two things happen: Workers’ rights are undermined, and the people they serve suffer. In this case – we’ll lose the ability to hire and keep good staff, which means that we risk agencies having to reduce or compromise their care. Landing the consequences of these cuts on those who are most in need of our support: our children.