Grande Prairie is one of several cities in Alberta that will see child care facilities reopening next week. The Alberta Government says it aims to open close to 15,000 spaces in licensed child care centres for service providers like health care workers.
Premier Jason Kenney says which ones will reopen will be chosen based on their distance to health care facilities. They will be reopened through a phased approach.
“The centres will be limited to 30 people, including staff, and will have to adhere to strict health guidelines.”
Kenney adds the children of core service providers and critical municipal infrastructure workers will be at the top of the list for childcare. The province will then cater to essential services such as police officers, firefighters and other impacted sectors.
“Parents will be notified through their employer if they qualify to send their kids to newly reopened centres,” says Kenney. “All other licensed child care centres will remain closed.”
The government asks families that are given a space to only use it if they have no other way to get to their job.
Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz says the government is prioritizing major cities in the province like Grande Prairie, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Fort McMurray, and Red Deer.
“Areas, where are healthcare workers, are working at high demand. We’re going to have a number of those spaces, around 6,000, as soon as Monday, Tuesday,” notes Schulz.
The province has also created an Economic Recovery Council aimed at protecting jobs during an eventual economic downturn. Kenney says the council will be made up of policy and industry experts providing advice on the economic crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Westjet CEO Clive Beddoe.