"We are part of the growing movement that is tired of waiting for politicians to catch up with the needs of Canadian families. We need a national child care program, and we need it now." — James Clancy, NUPGE National President.
Winnipeg (14 Nov. 2014) — Members of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) are gathering in Winnipeg with hundreds of other child care advocates to discuss the future of early learning and child care in Canada.
NUPGE members are attending ChildCare 2020 to advocate for a national child care program and strategize on how to get it
ChildCare 2020 is the first national child care policy conference in a decade and the fourth such conference in Canada’s history.
Delegates will be able to share experiences of front-line child care advocates and workers from across the country about what is happening in the field of early education and child care. Participants will also hear from policy experts from Canada and abroad about what constitutes the best way forward for early education and child care. One of the speakers is Pierre Fortin, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Université du Québec à Montréal, who has published a study showing the economic benefits of a national child care program.
Representatives of all federal political parties have been invited to speak to the delegates. Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau have confirmed their attendance.
Stephanie Smith, President of the B.C. Government and General Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE), will be participating in a conference panel discussion about how the child care workforce can be supported. The panelists will explore the vital importance of wages, working conditions, professionalism, unionization, leadership and infrastructure in the child care sector. They will also consider how these factors affect program quality through improvements to morale, respect and recognition, better recruitment and retention of well-educated and qualified staff.
Mini-workshops will also be held to allow participants to organize around specific issues or constituencies.
Child care is a key component of social and economic equality
A goal of the conference is to enable delegates to counter the austerity measures and poor government policy choices that have put child care on the back burner. It hopes to engage a new generation of advocates who will deliver a strong message that it’s time for governments to give families access to quality early learning and child care programs.
"There is already a consensus within our union about the need for a national early childhood education and child care program," said Brenda Hildahl, National Representative and Chair of NUPGE's Advisory Committee on Women's Issues. "ChildCare 2020 is an opportunity to work with other advocates and policy experts to make child care a major issue heading into the 2015 election."
"We know through our on going work that an early childhood education and care program benefits our children, their parents and our economies. It helps reduce poverty and income inequality, and gives families a greater chance to succeed," said James Clancy, NUPGE National President. "We are part of the growing movement that is tired of waiting for politicians to catch up with the needs of Canadian families. We need a national program, and we need it now."
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