Student parents at the University of Alberta face major financial and structural issues when it comes to child care. For example, the wait times for on campus child care are between one and a half to two years. This means that a student is already halfway done their degree before they are able to access those services.
In addition, child care can cost up to $1,200 per month. This adds up to $9,600 that is put towards childcare in a normal academic year. In comparison, tuition is only $5,320 per academic year. This means that students are left with the difficult choice of either focusing on their education or taking care of the child. This is unacceptable.
In order to understand why this is, we must understand that child care funding has continuously been cut by all levels of government. This means that funding is a main issue affecting the six university affiliated daycares and the ability for students at the University of Alberta to access childcare while studying. In addition, a lack of childcare access for students at the University of Alberta means that students who are parents may have difficulty continuing their education if they have a child during their degree. Thus, It is necessary that we offer supports to students facing circumstances that may hold them back from pursuing post-secondary.
Like other Canadian universities, the University of Alberta not only lacks on campus child care options for students who are parents, but also lacks a campus-wide strategy on childcare. This means that the issue often falls by the wayside and is not seen as a priority for a university education. For example, the last time the university reviewed childcare was in 2002. The key issue they found was a lack of space to facilitate the continuously increasing demand for childcare services.
Launch a comprehensive study of childcare on campus with stakeholder groups such as the University administration, students, and staff.
Create temporary drop-in childcare services during mid-term and final exams by using funds from the project reserve to demonstrate the need for childcare on campus.
Establish a task force to look into the potential of having a Students’ Union affiliated daycare once again.
Advocate to the province for a U of A childcare centre to be apart of the $25 child care pilot project.