NDP again asks Parliament to pass legislation that would lay a foundation for a national child care system.
On April 29, 2009 NDP Child Care Critic Olivia Chow reintroduced the proposed legislation (Bill C-373) in the House of Commons.
The bill was introduced once before in May of 2006 as Bill C-303 and had passed first and second reading before Parliament was dissolved for the October 2008 election.
Bill C-373 lays the foundation for a national child care system governed by principles and accountability.
It calls for accessible, universal and high-quality early learning and child care programs and services. It would discourage expansion of for-profit child care in Canada as it ensures reliable funding for the provinces and guarantees child care tax dollars are invested in not-for-profit centres.
The reintroduction of the Early Learning and Child Care Act comes at a time when several reports have shown Canada’s dismal record on child care. In fact Canada has one of the lowest child care access rates in the industrialized world and fees are among the highest.
In April, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology released a report entitled Early Childhood Education and Care: Next Steps. The study was initiated after the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OCED) report was released in 2006 which rated Canada last among 14 countries on spending on early learning and child care programs.
Among the recommendations of the Senate report was the need to appoint a minister of state for children and youth with responsibilities to work with provincial and territorial governments to advance quality early learning and child care. It also recommends the federal government conduct a series of meetings of federal, provincial and territorial ministers with responsibility for children and youth to establish a pan-Canadian framework to provide policies and programs to support children and their families.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has been a vocal advocate of a universal early childhood education and child care program for many years.
“Every kid should have an equal opportunity to get a head start in life which is why Canada needs a universal early childhood education and child care program," says NUPGE national president James Clancy.
"And as the economic crisis deepens in Canada, it is now more vitally important that families experiencing job loss have access to child care in order to find new employment or retrain. As well, we know that early childhood education and child care promotes economic stimulus through job creation, labour-force participation and increased local economic activity," Clancy says.
“I encourage everyone to do what they can to support this important legislation, Bill C-373, introduced by MP Olivia Chow.”
NUPGE has recently released a leaflet entitled Our kids gotta come first which stresses the need for a universal program. You can download the leaflet by clicking here or order copies by e mailing NUPGE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Our kids gotta come first – NUPGE leaflet