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TORONTO The federal government should involve child care workers and the unions that represent them if it wants to design a national child care program where quality is second to none, says Sid Ryan, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

Ryan joined Toronto Mayor David Miller, Kira Heineck, executive director of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC), parents, other child care advocates and union representatives to celebrate the 4th annual child care worker and early childhood educator appreciation day at Hester How Daycare.

It was a scene repeated across Ontario as 103 municipalities proclaimed the day, which was founded by CUPE Ontario and the OCBCC. Sponsors now include the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Canadian Auto Workers, National Union of Public and General Employees, Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, Service Employees International Union and Ontario Federation of Labour.

Child care helps Toronto work, Miller said as he read the official proclamation. Child care workers and teachers are at the core of quality programs for children in our city.

There is an air of optimism in this years celebration because of the promise of a new national program, said Heineck.

We will be talking to the federal government about developing a universal, accessible program that is directly funded and not based on subsidies to parents like the patchwork of programs we have today, she said.

Quality is one of the key principles for any new system and research shows that quality is higher where workers belong to unions, Ryan said, noting that CUPE and other unions are long-time advocates of a national, publicly funded, not-for-profit child care system.


For more information, please contact:
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, 416-209-0066 (cell)
Kira Heineck, Executive Director, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, 416-538-0628
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-299-9739 ext 264; 416-616-6142 (cell)