Lack of clarity and information in government communications regarding who does and who does not have access to childcare services during the Renew PEI Together plan is creating unnecessary anxiety amongst parents and caregivers.
In Phase 2, which is set to begin May 22nd, all unlicensed child care providers and all licensed child care centres are set to reopen. They will operate under the guidance of the Chief Public Health Office.
I am hearing from Islanders requiring child care who are concerned they may not be eligible. Both unlicensed child care providers and licensed child care centres are contacting families to ask if they are hoping to have their child’s spot secured. Of course, families want their spots secured. Childcare is difficult to attain in the best of times. However, it seems childcare spots may only be secure for those returning to work. This is concerning. Some families require child care for reasons other than work. It could be due to health and wellness concerns, caring for an unwell family member, or many other reasons.
These parents are fearful they will not be prioritized for childcare. The lack of clarity is making them wonder if childcare will be available to essential workers only, or if it is available to all those returning to work, or is it also available to all those who need it regardless of the reason?
Government must understand the value of people goes beyond the work they do for their employer. While I understand there are difficult decisions being made and government leaders are trying to support families the best they can, they cannot forget families are more than the economy. People are more than their ability to put food on the table.
I am asking government to clarify in the simplest terms possible who is and who is not eligible for childcare in each phase of Renew PEI Together.
Karla Bernard, MLA
District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park
Official Opposition Critic for Education and Lifelong Learning