A new report underscores the importance of making sure our new cross-Canada child care system is not-for-profit. The national study, conducted by two University of Toronto economists, found that non-profit child care centres have the highest quality care. The evidence is clear. Now its up to us to push for a child care program thats non-profit.
Act now to tell Ken Dryden that non-profit child care is good public policy. Go to BuildChildCare.ca to send a letter to him and other key decision-makers.
Spread the word about this important issue by sending a Stop big box child care postcard to your family, friends and co-workers, encouraging them to take action at BuildChildCare.ca.
Theres clear evidence that non-profit care is higher quality. The U of T study confirms the conclusions of researchers from Canada and around the world. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, which holds hearings in advance of the federal budget each year, has got the message too. The committees final report recommends that the new child care system be national, accessible, affordable, high-quality, publicly funded, publicly regulated [and] not-for-profit.
Parents and child care workers know first-hand the pitfalls of commercialized care. One child care worker told the Globe and Mail shes seen how corners get cut in for-profit care, including serving children watered down milk. And Australias experience with for-profit care provides further lessons. In this country, reports are emerging of compromised safety and quality as a handful of corporate giants snap up child care centres. A recent media investigation found Australian corporations were cutting staff and cleaning services, axing programs and slashing food bills in half in the quest for profits.
Dont trade away child care
Non-profit child care doesnt just ensure the best possible care for Canadas kids. Its also our best protection against trade challenges to a new child care program. If Minister Dryden allows for-profit care as part of the new system, it opens the door to foreign child care corporations prying open the system under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
As long as the new program is non-profit, it will be protected from trade deals. But if the new system includes for-profit care, foreign big box child care corporations will demand their share of the child care market and governments will be hard pressed to stop them. At the same time, governments will have great difficulty creating and maintaining standards in the child care sector and could lose their ability to regulate child care altogether.
Under NAFTA and GATS, theres no going back. Once a public program falls into corporate hands, both deals make it virtually impossible to reverse that decision. Future governments will be locked into a bad decision, leaving them very few options to regulate, change or end market-driven child care.
It is time to ensure that the ministers in charge of child care know Canadians are demanding a program thats non-profit. This is one of the four building blocks of quality care, along with provincial accountability to standards set out in law, and sustainable public funding that keeps parent fees affordable.
Its absolutely critical that federal, provincial and territorial leaders negotiating the details of the child care program hear from as many of us as possible. Visit BuildChildCare.ca today to send a message to Ken Dryden, your provincial minister responsible for child care and other key decision-makers. Tell them to build child care rightfrom the start.