YWCA study finds support for national child care program

Community task forces conclude that Harper Conservatives are out of sync with broadly held Canadian views


Ottawa (21 March 2006) - A new report by the YWCA Canada says that most Canadian parents – whether they work in or outside of the home – want a publicly funded national child care program rather than the child care allowance proposed by Canada’s new Conservative minority government.

The report does not bode well for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to scrap the fledgling child care program in favour of a taxable allowance of $100 a month for children under six years.

The authors of Building a Community Architecture for Early Childhood Learning and Care, found that a remarkable consensus emerges from Canadian families on the issue of child care.

The community task forces established to gather views for the report concluded that both at-home and working parents, irrespective of whether they live in urban, suburban or rural Canada, value early learning for their children and support an affordable and accessible national child care program.

While the panels were free to consider any and all options, not one of them recommended giving money directly to parents.

The panels were comprised of business, labour, aboriginal, ethnic, community, women’s and parent groups, profit and non-profit service providers and municipal and provincial officials from four representative Canadians communities. Participants from Halifax, Cambridge, Ont., Martensville, Sask., and Vancouver met over the course of a year to examine child care service frameworks.

“Money to parents can’t buy services that aren’t there for children,” says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada, the study’s sponsor.

“We need to build a system” adds Jenny Robinson, study director. “All the groups were clear: they want an integrated child care system and they want it publicly funded.”

The Harper government’s plan, according to experts, will see some middle income parents realize as little as $8 per week after taxes.

“We’re definitely in favour of income support for parents, but we don’t think that the $1200 a year - and for many parents it will be closer to $400 a year - will build a system of child-care across the country that so many parents need,” says Robinson. NUPGE


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