The Liberals have promised national legislation and an additional $5 billion over five years to build a universally accessible early learning and child care program; the New Democrats propose a similar program over four years. The Bloc Qubcois wants federal funding to expand Quebecs innovative child care system.
The Conservative platform is silent on child care. Instead, Conservative leader Stephen Harper has declared that “rather than boost spending on institutional daycare, we’ll offer tax breaks to families with children, no matter how they are raised” (May 28, Saskatoon). His proposed across-the-board tax deduction of $2,000 per child would be worth a few hundred dollars for modest and middle-income families and nothing for the poorest families.
While Mr. Harper is trying to make it one, child care is not an ideological or marginal issue. Canadians agree with the experts - a well-designed early childhood program provides parenting resources as it promotes the healthy development of young children and enables parents to work or study. The presence of child care on this election reflects its importance as a popular, cost-effective response to many of our country’s most pressing challenges including:
- Health. A childs early development has a significant impact on mental and physical health risks in later life, and high quality child care is an asset to healthy early development.
- Poverty. Child care provides a two-prong benefit by allowing low income parents to work or upgrade skills at the same time as it ensures that their children are not placed at risk due to their families socio-economic circumstances.
- Women’s equity. In the words of Justice Rosalie Abella: Child care is the ramp to equality in the workplace for women.” Without it, women cannot fully participate in the economic, social, cultural and political life of their communities.
- Investing in the knowledge-based economy. Skills training and life-long learning are the kingpins of Canadas Innovation Strategy. Research by economists such as Nobel Prize winner James Heckman indicates that public investments in young children are the key to innovation, yielding a higher return than most economic initiatives.
- Social inclusion. Child care contributes to vibrant communities and makes a multifaceted contribution to the socio-economic, gender, cultural and ethnic harmony Canadians value.
Today Canada is being outpaced as the value of early learning and child care is recognized internationally. European government leaders have agreed to provide publicly funded child care for most children in the European Union by 2010 and many U.S. states now provide full day programs for many preschoolers. Indeed, many developing countries are making early learning a priority.
This is the kind of forward thinking leadership Canada requires. On June 28th we are asking Canadians to vote with the future of our children and our country in mind.
For more information:
Kira Heineck, OCBCC 416-529-7521 (c); 416-538-0628, ext. 3 (o)
We encourage supporting individuals and organizations to sign on by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
June Callwood, writer, activist and Campaign Against Child Poverty
Cathy Crowe, Street Nurse
Dr. Charles E. Pascal, Professor, University of Toronto and Former Ontario Deputy Minister of Education
Alex Cullen, Councillor, City of Ottawa
Buzz Hargrove, Canadian Auto Workers
Donna S. Lero, Ph.D., Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work, Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being, University of Guelph
Peggy Nash, NDP Candidate - Parkdale High Park, Toronto
Heather Boyer, Chair, Windsor-Essex Child Care Action Network (WECCAN)
Jane Beach, Social Policy consultant, Victoria, BC
Jane Bertrand, Early Childhood Education, George Brown College
Janine Woehl, ECE professor, Sarnia, ON
Joe Mihevic, Councillor, City of Toronto
John Godfrey, MP, Don Valley West, Toronto
Laurel Rothman, Community Activist
Rabbi Arthur Bielfeld, and Martha Friendly, Childcare Research and Resource Unit, UofT Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario
Alberta Family Child Care Associations
B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Society
Campaign Against Child Poverty (CACP)
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Canadian Association of Food Banks
Canadian Auto Workers (CAW)
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Centre for Social Justice (CSJ)
Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC)
Child Care Coalition of Manitoba
Coalition for Womens Equality (CWE) which includes the following Member Organizations:
National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.
Canadian Feminist Alliance For International Action FAFIA)
Canadian Research Institute For The Advancement of Women (CRIAW)
Fdration des femmes du Qub0065c (FFQ)
National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada (NOIVMWC)
National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC)
Community Social Planning Council of Toronto
Dis-Abled Womens Network (DAWN) Ontario
Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
Manitoba Association of Women and the Law
Manitoba Child Care Association (MCCA)
National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
Ontario Coalition for Social Justice (OCSJ)
Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Public Service Alliance Canada (PSAC)
Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care
United Nations Platform for Action Committee Manitoba
United Steelworkers of America (USWA)
University of Guelphs Parent Advisory Council
YWCA Child Development Centre, Saskatoon, SASK
…and 100s of other individuals and organizations.