Last week (November 17) Minister Doug Currie announced in the PEI Legislature notice of the Early Learning and Child Care Consultations that are currently underway. He made this announcement with less than one day's notice to the actual consultation meeting that was being held in Charlottetown. Shortly after, on Twitter, Island parents began asking questions related to what the consultation was all about and why there was such short notice given by the Minister. Parents wondered how they could learn more about what was happening.
Here is an excerpt from the Hansard which outlines what the Minister said.
Is this the only public consultation that is happening with respect to this newly proposed Act? If you are interested in learning more about the proposed Act where do you get more information? What experts are guiding this consultation process? How long is the consultatation being held for….or was that it – one night?
Since I am a long time advocate regarding early learning issues on PEI, I decided that I had better check into these issues further. So, I have tweeted @dougcurrie a number of questions related to the Act. I am hopeful he will respond. I also thought it best to see what the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development have posted on their website related to the consultation process. Upon visiting the government webpage for more information I have discovered that there is actually very little content available. A few fact sheets but nothing that explains the actual consultation process. No timeline. No guide regarding what to consider. Not much. The link where one can make comments or suggestions related to the proposed Early Learning & Child Care Act actually takes you to a form where you can report problems related to the PEI government website – it actually has nothing to do with the actual consultation process. Wow…now that's reassuring. I definately feel like my comments and feedback will make it to the right place.
So, while these consultations may be well intentioned they actually appear to lack information, substance, proper process or much else. This is truly disappointing as these proposed changes (whatever they actually are) will likely have serious impact on the Early Learning & Child Care field, parents and families on PEI.
Is this actually how proper public consultation is done?
Update: The Minister tweeted me this morning with a telephone number for me to call to request more details. I will do this today.