Federal budget falls short for Canadian children and their families



    OTTAWA, Feb. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the Canadian Teachers'
Federation (CTF), the federal government's budget tabled this week is
disappointing for teachers, children and youth, and does little to address
social justice issues in Canada.
    "The federal budget is extremely short-sighted when it fails to focus on
innovative and dynamic long-term approaches that would positively affect
families and the health, well-being and education of children and youth," says
CTF President Emily Noble. "CTF believes that strong social cohesion for all
Canadians is an investment in long-term prosperity. Investing in children and
families is the most effective way to develop active and engaged citizens who
will contribute to the social and economic health of our country.
    "As teachers, we observe many children and youth who are denied the
opportunity to develop their full potential because their families are not
receiving the range of supportive services they need," explains Noble. "The
federal government has a responsibility to help schools and school boards who
are struggling, for example, to provide language and other educational
services to immigrant and refugee children as well as a range of ancillary
support services for children and youth.
    "Not only should the federal government address non job-related services
and resources required by immigrant families, but it should take the lead in
helping to provide the most basic services such as translation and
interpretation in schools, and to develop programs for teachers, students and
parents to understand and nurture cultural differences.
    "At a time when Canada is ranked as one of the best countries in the
world in which to live, our poverty levels among our First Nations and
Aboriginal children, youth and families are unacceptable. Although the federal
government had the opportunity to fund home support and prevention services to
help First Nations children and their families, it turned away from its
responsibilities.
    "The federal government's own research clearly shows that prevention and
early intervention strategies produce tangible results. Yet, this country is
not taking any positive steps to move closer to developing a national child
care program that provides quality child care and early learning opportunities
to every child at affordable levels. The current approach to child care works
against those with lower incomes and fosters the growth of corporate,
for-profit child care services. Canada has the resources to be a world leader
in this regard.
    "It is also unfortunate that the federal government has not seen fit to
restore funding of valuable programs that provided opportunities for Canadians
to have a stronger voice on social justice issues," she further adds. "Renewed
funding support to many organizations, such as the Status of Women Canada, and
the reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program would go a long way in
moving Canada forward on social and human rights."

    CTF speaks for 220,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on
education and related social issues. CTF membership includes Member
organizations in every province and territory in Canada as well as an
Affiliate Member in Ontario. CTF (http://www.ctf-fce.ca) is also a member of
the international body of teachers, Education International
(http://www.ei-ie.org).




For further information:

For further information: For comments: Emily Noble, CTF President, (613)
232-1505; Media contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, (613)
688-4314


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