OTTAWA – Today’s Ontario child care agreement gives further weight to the push for quick passage of the federal budget – but Canada’s largest union is also concerned the province is moving in the wrong direction.
“We’re pleased to see another bilateral deal secured and more money going to child care, but giving for-profit care room to grow as Ontario’s system expands is a major mistake,” says Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
“Manitoba has announced their program will only grow in the non-profit sector – a move that gets their system off on the right foot. We are calling on federal, provincial and territorial governments to lay the best foundation for expanded early learning and child care by funding only non-profit care.”
Evidence from Canada and around the world demonstrates non-profit care delivers higher-quality care and is the most efficient way to spend public money. For-profit expansion also brings with it the threat of challenges from foreign child care corporations, under international trade deals.
Moist is also worried the Liberal election promise of a universal system continues to be watered down. Deals signed to date continue to rely on high parent fees and ineffective subsidies, instead of moving to a Quebec-style model where parents pay very low fees, and public funding is the system’s backbone.
“Transforming our current patchwork means scrapping subsidies and parent fees. Anything less will not deliver the availability and affordability that parents need. We will hold the Liberal government to their promise to deliver on this,” added Moist.
Moist pointed to the province’s commitment to improve recruitment and retention of child care workers as a positive step. “The success of a rapidly growing system really hinges on having enough workers on hand to meet the demand,” he said.
CUPE will continue to press for further improvements as Ontario and other provinces develop long-term plans beyond today’s agreement-in-principle. CUPE also is urging its members to contact their MP with an urgent message to put aside procedural wrangling and partisan sniping in order to pass the new, improved federal budget.
“Let’s get to work on Canadians’ priorities. Once we’ve secured the money for child care, housing, communities and other immediate needs, we can deal with the issues of corruption plaguing this government,” concluded Moist.
The 540,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees deliver a broad range of public services in communities across the country. More than 5,000 CUPE members are child care workers.
For more information:
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431;
Paul Moist, CUPE National President, cell (613) 558-2873;
Claude Généreux, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), cell (613) 794-8395.