Province Doubling-Down on Ending Northern Living Allowance For Childcare Workers

Alberta’s Minister of Children Services is doubling-down on the decision to end the northern living allowance for childcare workers.

Speaking on Fort McMurray Matters, Rebecca Schulz noted the province isn’t considering bringing back the program at this time.

She says the allowance was brought it for multiple communities at a time when retaining workers was much harder.

“What we’ve seen around the province is that some of those needs and some of the factors aren’t necessarily the same now than when the [allowance] was brought into place.”

Local childcare workers have claimed they can’t afford to live in the region without the allowance.

In a previous interview with Mix News, Early Childhood Educator Hope Moffatt said families will be just as impacted as the workers.

The cost per month for a child to attend one of these centres is around $1,300, however, this could be on the rise to cover the added costs for employees.

“Imagine getting another two hundred to three hundred dollars tacked on. If centres don’t do that, educators simply can’t afford to continue to work there… they can’t live on their wage.”

The province is maintaining wage top-ups, the second-highest in Canada, which they believe will help workers continue to afford to live in the region.

Schulz adds they’re currently more concerned about availability after getting feedback from local parents.

“We need some flexibility to offer extended hours and atypical hours specifically for shift working parents.”

They’re currently discussing whether any supports could be potentially offered to help more childcare centres expand their services to allow more families to access them.

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