The City of Edmonton Child-Care Policy

This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

It’s a small world after all! Today, the City of Edmonton took one small step to a promising future. Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explorer may be common interests for children, but one thing that is on almost every parent’s mind is access to quality, affordable child-care. They are interested in finding the best child-care option for their children. Some may choose to stay home, others may work part time or full time, and yet it seems there just isn’t enough space or options for some parents.

Today, Edmonton City Council passed a policy for Employee Child Care. The new policy will see the city exploring opportunities for child-care where more than 500 employees live or work within a five-kilometer radius of a city work site.

This all started with the availability of a day care for city staff in the new civic tower. City of Edmonton Staff were surveyed to determine if they were interested, and very quickly we realized that there is a need throughout the city.

The policy focuses on the provision of early learning and care with an understanding that it should be high quality, affordable and accessible to meet the diverse needs of children. It’s not just about employee retention, but also about employee attraction. It’s a milestone where we begin to give families and predominantly women who provide that majority of child-care responsibilities, choices to work for the city.

Will we have places tomorrow for our employee’s children? No, but we are beginning to take steps whenever we plan, build, retrofit or have leased space available to initiate early learning and care spaces for employees, and for the public if there is room.   Ultimately, this should help address the child-care shortage in the city.

My hope and my challenge is that other Employers will see the City of Edmonton as a leader and model to follow and look to providing quality child care options for their employees.