With 2 out of 4 national political parties committed to universal child care, the outcome of the election could help reduce the overwhelming costs for families across the country.
Ottawa (04 October 2019) — As part of its 2019 Voter's Guide, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has just released a factsheet on the important issue of child care. When it comes to child care, many families are struggling to find appropriate, safe and affordable care for their children. When they do, it leaves a massive sink hole in their bank accounts.
National child care program urgently needed
It has been decades since a new national social program was introduced in Canada.
The National Union believes that a national public child care program should be a priority in the federal election. Where there is no provincial child care program, child care fees are extremely high. After mortgage or rent, child care is the biggest cost for families with small children. For families with 2 children under 4 years old, child care can be the largest single cost.
Evidence shows that investing in high-quality accessible and affordable child care is not only possible but essential for a thriving economy. Studies show that giving children a head start in early childhood education provides many benefits — female participation in the workforce goes up, family incomes increase, the economy grows more quickly, and student achievement rises, providing a sound basis for future learning.
"Families are paying what amounts to a second mortgage in child care fees, and there are no guarantees that they will find spaces in their community," said Larry Brown, NUPGE President. "Our federal government can play a strong role in reducing the cost burden, while providing the best opportunity for our children to succeed in the future."
Provincial program shows effectiveness of subsidized child care
When Quebec instituted its low-fee child care program in 1997 at $5/day, critics said it was unsustainable. While fees have adjusted over the last 20 years (it’s now at $8.25/day, depending on family income), studies continue to show that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, the economy gets about $6 worth of economic benefits!
Quality is key
But to produce results, early childhood education needs to be more than just childminding. Children need highly trained educators, with expertise in play-based learning. Recruitment of these educators requires that good salaries with benefits are part of the package.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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