Survey of child care standards in 25 developed countries
Ottawa (15 Dec. 2008) - Canada ranks last in a tie with Ireland among 25 developed nations in a comparison of child care services conducted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The report says Canada failed nine of 10 measures to ensure that children get a good start in life. It met only one standard - a benchmark stipulating that 50% of staff in accredited early education services have post-secondary qualifications.
Sweden topped the list, meeting all 10 benchmarks. The other countries, in order of ranking, were: Iceland, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Belgium (Flanders), Hungary, New Zealand, Slovenia, Austria, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, United States, Australia, Ireland and Canada.
"Investing in early child care and education is a key strategy to respond to current economic challenges and to promote economic stimulus and recovery," UNICEF Canada said in a statement.
The Canadian organization urged the Harper government in Ottawa to act by introducing "measurable standards, guidelines and appropriate funding for child care and solutions by July 2009."
The report, entitled The Child Care Transition, was sparked by new scientific understanding about the importance of early childhood education at a time when an increasing majority of children in the world's richest countries are spending a large part of their day in child care, the international UNICEF organization adds.
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