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Code Blue for child care advocates and activists staged a “race” between nations at a local Ottawa child care centre today. “Today’s race underscores Canada’s international ranking on spending and programs for children and families- and we come in dead last,” said CUPE national executive member Sandy Harding.

Harding spoke to those gathered with her son Jack on her hip, “In this election, parents are looking for progressive leadership that is in step with their lived economic stresses. It is truly shocking that Canada – a major industrialized nation is so far behind the times.” Canada’s low ranking is cited in a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development comparing family policies and spending for 14 developed nations.

My husband and I have 5 children, only our oldest was able to access affordable quality child care. The rest were not able to obtain regulated child care. Jack is 10 months old and I have to return to work in 6 weeks and still no spot in sight. In order to cope, my husband and I have to work different shifts. He works nights and I work days – the impact on our family life has been tremendous,” added Harding.

Code Blue is calling for a political commitment to move from a patchwork system of child care to a child care system with increased federal funding starting at $1.2 billion more in the first year, and legislation to ensure the funds are used for expanding non-profit services.

CUPE is a member of Code Blue, and is committed to lobbying the federal government to establish a pan Canadian non profit, affordable high quality child care program.