Early childhood education is essential to support parents’ employment and learning, and necessary in any poverty reduction strategy. Yet our country is lagging behind. Before the Conservative government came to power, Canadians were very close to achieving a national child care program. Instead, Stephen Harper gave us a pitiful monthly allowance – and no new child care spaces. This does nothing to address the need for child care in our country.
What do we want?
- A national plan to make high quality, non-profit early childhood education and care a reality over the next decade.
- Increased federal funds, starting with an additional $1.2 billion in the first year and a steady growth in spending in the following years.
- Federal legislation (recognizing Quebec’s distinctiveness) to establish conditions, criteria and principles for the accountable use of federal funds in the provinces and territories.
- Improved maternity/parental leave policy to complement the child care program.
Cheques aren’t child care
- The Conservatives claim to be investing in early learning and child care, but over 80 per cent of their child care budget goes to parents in the form of a taxable $100 monthly cheque.
- The federal government website boasts that much of this spending goes to recreational activities or basic necessities—it certainly doesn’t cover the cost of child care.
- Less than 25 per cent of federal child care spending actually goes toward early learning and child care.
Child care is in crisis
- Since the Conservatives came to power in 2006, the expansion of child care spaces has dropped to its lowest level in years.
- Parents can’t find or afford child care and centres are closing due to a lack of funding.
- The child care field is losing trained staff because of low wages and poor working conditions.