Alberta Mirror

Monday, October 3, 2022

Alberta entrepreneurs stress increased restrictions under grant program for $10-a-day childcare

Alberta

Key takeaways: 

  • Owners say the grant restricts their capability to grow their business and control costs.
  • Childcare center operators in Alberta worry about how the $10-a-day daycare program is being rolled out. 

A new funding program planned to get childcare expenses in Alberta down to $10 per day by 2026 is raising flags for the owners of several for-profit childcare centers, who fear the program lets too much government power over their private businesses. 

In Fort McMurray, Krystal Churcher stated she felt like her hands were bound when the region came to her with a contract for childcare assistance. 

While affordable child care is excellent for families, the Early Start Learning Centre owner wondered if the budget would restrict her as an owner.

Months after, Churcher says that’s precisely what happened.

The assistance program grandfathered in existing private childcare centers and added 2,700 more eligible areas, according to Andrew Reith, press secretary for Matt Jones, the minister of children’s services.

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A new funding program planned to get childcare expenses in Alberta down to $10 per day by 2026 is raising flags for the owners of several for-profit childcare centers, who fear the program lets too much government power over their private businesses

Now that Churcher has signed onto the contract, students at her center are under the assistance program.

However, if she were to grow or open a second place, new students would not be. That means her unique business areas would be at a significant financial disadvantage and wouldn’t be possible. “It lowers the value in my business,” Churcher stated.

But without the grant’s salary top-up, she wouldn’t be able to have competitive pay for her staff because most other childcare facilities have signed onto the deal. 

“I don’t know of another sector in Alberta where private small business landlords are being limited and shackled like this,” stated Churcher. 

Before signing on to the contract, Churcher looked to develop her business to a second place. Several weeks back, she pulled the plug, telling her the financial trouble was too big.

Source – CBC News

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