CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A Charlottetown-based community organization is hoping to provide concrete childcare options for P.E.I. women who are working irregular hours.
Roxanne Carter-Thompson, the executive director of the Adventure Group, said the group’s recent work has identified the lack of evening or weekend child care options as a barrier to the advancement of women in some workplaces on P.E.I.
“It's not just enough to have access to childcare. There needs to be childcare for women who are working within fields whose hours are not regular daycare hours. That came out as a huge barrier," Carter-Thompson said.
On Wednesday, Charlottetown MP Sean Casey and MP Terry Duguid, the parliamentary secretary for the Status of Women, announced $305,750 in new federal funding for the Adventure Group. The new funding will support the development of a needs assessment of childcare in the region and will also help develop a childcare pilot project for women working non-traditional hours.
“It's not just enough to have access to childcare. There needs to be childcare for women who are working within fields whose hours are not regular daycare hours. That came out as a huge barrier."
Carter-Thompson said she hopes to partner with local businesses in order to create more flexible daycare options.
"Why couldn't we encourage a business to create their own daycare centre onsite," Carter-Thompson said.
Carter-Thompson was unable to say how many childcare spaces will be created as a result of the new funding.
Duguid, who represents the Manitoba riding of Winnipeg South, said the funding will focus on the agriculture, health care and retail sectors – sectors, he said, that are seeing increased demand for workers. However, jobs are often difficult to access for women with children.
“Childcare for those kinds of workplaces is very, very problematic,” Duguid said. “The Adventure Group is going to look at creative ways that they can address that need because childcare is a barrier that is preventing women from entering the workforce."
Casey said the Adventure Group, which began in 1992 as an organization dedicated to supporting marginalized youth, has become a trusted partner for federal programs looking to target marginalized groups.
“When you have programs like the Adventure Group that are so well-run, so well-intentioned and so effective, it's a responsibility of the government to stand behind groups like that," Casey said.