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UNICEF flunks Canada on child care

UNICEF’s report card on Early Childhood Education and Care programs ranks Canada at the bottom.

The report says OECD countries spend on average 0.7% of GDP on child care and early childhood education.  UNICEF says that number should be at 1%.

Canada spends less than 0.3% of the GDP on ECEC – most of which is being spent in Québec.

We urgently need to see an increase in federal funding for public child care, and this investment should definitely be part of an economic package presented to stimulate Canada’s economy,” said Paul Moist.

Ontario Auditor General slams Brampton P3 hospital

An Ontario Auditor General’s report criticizes Brampton Civic Hospital, a public-private partnership that could have been built for millions less.

At the top of Jim McCarter’s list of concerns was the cost of borrowing money to build the privatized hospital.  The province would have saved $200 million if it had borrowed the money to build the hospital directly.

McCarter also said:

• construction would have cost $50 million less if the hospital had been built by the province; and
• The government could have saved “tens of millions” of dollars if they had not privatized laundry, food, cleaning, and security services.

U of T TAs give bargaining team a strike mandate

Teaching assistants at the University of Toronto, members of CUPE 3902-Unit 1, have given their bargaining team a strike mandate.

With several bargaining days scheduled, the union will continue to press for:

• assistance with child care costs;
• an end to the expensive, private for-profit University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) forced on international students;
• measures to address ballooning tutorial and lab sizes; and
• a fair financial package.

ABC Learning collapse highlights need for public child care

The child care multinational that has been trying to expand into Canada has collapsed.

ABC Learning collapsed in November and is now in receivership.  The corporation was the largest child care business in the world.

ABC, which operated more than 2,300 child care centres in four countries, owed $1.6 billion and had been struggling since earlier this year.

In Australia, 120,000 children are in ABC centres.  The crisis affects their families, as well as 16,000 workers at the centres.  At least 55 centres will close as of January 2009 – and a further 241 have been identified as unprofitable.

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Sherbrooke Hydro workers to walk out

CUPE 1114 members were off the job for four hours December 10 after Hydro Sherbrooke pulled their monetary offer off the table.

Employer representatives reneged on their wage and benefit proposals in mediated talks this week, claiming the financial crisis had hurt the utility’s pension fund.

Olivia Twist wanted more too

CUPE released a new promotional video for its National Bargaining Women’s Equality Conference this week.  Low rent, but highly spirited, Comic Twist’s production of Olivia Twist takes a poke at those who would deny women their faire share, à la Charles Dickens.  Even if it’s only cold oatmeal.


Judith Mongrain retires

Long time CUPE activist and former NEB member for Northern Ontario Judith Mongrain has retired.

Judy Mongrain retired from her position as President of CUPE Local 87 this week after holding office for almost 25 years.

Mongrain led a three-month strike in 1998.

Marie Dean was elected President of CUPE 87 December 1.

:te/cope 491