Conservatives' plans in child care leading to shrinking number of child care spaces and they have chosen to ignore the crisis in the recent federal budget.
Ottawa (6 Feb. 2009) – Despite promises by the Harper Conservatives that their child care annual allowance and capital grants to employers would create more than 250,000 child care spaces, the reality appears to be greatly different. Child care advocates are pointing to a growing loss of child care spaces which is making a serious problem for parents even worse.
Canadian Press is reporting that Toronto is preparing to close up to 6,000 city-run subsidized spaces as a result of federal funding cuts and the funding gap by the province of Ontario. The province's child care advocates say that as many as 15,000 spaces are at risk when federal funding runs out in 2010.
In the recently released Federal Budget 2009, promised to be an economic recovery and stimulus budget, the federal government once again refused to address the issue of child care spaces.
This is in marked contrast to the situation when they first took office.
Cancelled the beginnings of a national child care program
In 2006, the beginnings of a national universal early childhood education and care system appeared to be in place. The Liberal government, under Prime Minister Paul Martin, had negotiated bi-lateral agreements with all ten provincial governments. There was also a five year plan with a federal commitment of $5 billion to child care.
This was all cancelled by the minority Harper government.
The government replaced this commitment in favour of $1,200 annual allowance to parents with children under six years of age. Although the allowance was welcomed by families with young children, the reality is that parents can not buy services that don’t exist. The annual benefit has not created any desperately needed child care spaces.
The other part of the Conservative plan was to give $10,000 capital grants to employers to set up child care centres. This was to suppose to create 250,000 child care spaces but has not.
National child care program brings strong benefits
While the 2009 Federal Budget promised to help Canada's economic recovery and stimulus budget, the Harper government once again refused to address the issue of child care spaces. And yet, research indicates that for every dollar spent on child care there is a ripple effect of $1.58 in the the local economy.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is 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