Communities across Ontario took time out October 24 to recognize the tremendous contribution child care workers make to improving the lives of children and families. With CUPE’s encouragement, more than 50 municipalities declared the day Child Care Workers Appreciation Day.
In Ottawa, National President Judy Darcy released a new report “Stepping up for Child Care” which outlines how federal and provincial downloading of responsibilities – but not resources – is deepening the crisis in child care services.
The report is the result of a tour of Ontario communities by activists from CUPE and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. Higher turnover due to low wages, provincial government refusal to fund on-going pay equity adjustments, poor pensions and the lack of resources for children – especially those with special needs – were identified as some of the major problems workers and parents see in the system. The report recommends ways to fight the effects of downloading. [Copies of the report can be downloaded from cupe.ca/downloads/stepupccare.pdf.]
“Day in and day out child care workers are doing a great job, caring for our children and giving them the support they need to thrive,” says Darcy. “But our members can’t live on love alone. It’s long past the time for the federal government to keep its promise to fund a national child care program.”
In a related development, CUPE has obtained funding for a special research project on the impact of unionization on the quality of early childhood education.
This study, funded by Human Resources Development Canada, will provide conclusive evidence that will help us win community and parent support for organizing drives in this sector. CUPE has targeted child care for national organizing.