Ottawa – With less than a week to go in the election campaign, a new Nanos poll reveals that Canadians prefer at a rate of 2 to 1 to have a national child care system to the Harper government’s $100 a month cheque.
“Almost twice as many Canadians said that setting up the national early childhood education and child care program is preferable (58.1%) to a monthly allowance of $100.00 (31.3%),” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). CUPE represents 10,000 child care workers, and over 570,000 working men and women across Canada.
Support is particularly high in the Atlantic with 63.4% in favour of a national child care system and 29.9% preferring the $100 monthly allowance. The situation is comparable in Quebec – 64% to 31%, and Ontario 61.7% to 27.1% all above the average of 58.1% to 31.1%.
“The poll suggests that the demand for child care services has not subsided but has increased since similar polling in 2006. However, growth in child care spaces slowed after 2006,” added Martha Friendly, a Toronto-based a policy researcher who has been tracking Canadian child care for 30 years.
The poll results show us that all age groups and both genders prefer a national child care program to a monthly allowance. Even the breakdown according to political party support is telling. Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc Québécois and Greens as well as the undecided were all considerably more likely to support the national program than the cheque.
According to a 2006 OECD report, Canada had the lowest public investment and service access rates, and among the highest parent fees. Centres are closing and staff shortages are rampant. Families lucky enough to find a child care space, pay fees between $600 and $1,500 a month.
“This poll confirms that Canadians want a system of early learning and care services - not monthly cheques and the Conservative plan is a failure,” concluded Moist.
Nanos Research conducted a random telephone survey of 1,201 Canadians from October 4 to October 6, 2008. The margin of accuracy for a sample of 1,201 is +/- 2.8%, 19 times out of 20.
For more information please contact: Paul Moist, CUPE National President – 613 558-2873 cell; Allison Gifford, CUPE Communications – 613 484-2571 cell