President's Commentary: Universal child care and early childhood education will help us all

"Like universal health care in the rest of the country, universal child care and early childhood education has become almost universally popular in Quebec and it's easy to see why." — James Clancy, NUPGE National President.

 

Ottawa (02 April 2014) — Universal child care and early childhood education will make Canadian kids safer, healthier, and better educated. It will ease significant financial and psychological burdens on Canadian parents and grandparents. It will chip away further at the wage gap between men and women. And it will give a boost of billions of dollars a year to the economy.

A universal child care program would go a long way to addressing inequality in Canada

We know these things will happen because they have happened in Québec since the province built its own universal child care system 15 years ago. Like universal health care in the rest of the country, universal child care has become almost universally popular in Québec and it's easy to see why.

A 2012 study by professors and researchers at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke found that universal child care has allowed 70,000 mothers to return to work, which has in turn led to a $5 billion increase in the province’s GDP. In fact, the study found that for every $1 invested in universal child care, the Quebec government reaps a $1.05 benefit in terms of reduced social assistance spending and increased tax revenues. Moreover, the study found that each $1 invested in universal child care in Quebec yielded a further $0.44 benefit to the federal government.

These conclusions come as no surprise; they echo the conclusions of a number of other studies about the benefits of regulated child care and early childhood education. Economists at the TD bank recently issued a report summarizing some of the findings of these other reports:

  • an extra year of high-quality early childhood education is much more likely to improve academic achievement than reducing average class-sizes
  • quality early childhood education reduces high-school drop-out rates
  • quality early childhood education reduces the chances that students will start smoking or using drugs, and increases the chances they will eventually own a car and a home
  • Canada spends less on early childhood education than the United States and all of the major European economies.

In the face of all this evidence, TD joined a number of other organizations — including the Natoinal Union and its various partners in the Rethink Childcare campaign — calling on the federal government to make investment in early childhood education a "high priority."

By working together we can build national programs that serve the common good

Most of the rest of us understand that when we work together we can accomplish greatness. We know from experience that by pooling our common wealth to build national programs, like universal health care and universal pensions, we bolster the common good. By making Canada fairer, we all benefit.

In solidarity,

James Clancy
NUPGE National President

NUPGE

James Clancy is the National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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