Advocates mark International Day of the Child with proclamations against spread of "big box" child care

    OTTAWA, Nov. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Parents and early childhood educators are
marking the International Day of the Child today by demanding that Parliament
take immediate action to halt the intrusion of foreign-based "Big Box" child
care into Canada. They are urging MPs to vote in favour of Bill C303, the
Early Learning and Child Care Act.
    The Act, which returns to the House today for debate and vote, will
ensure that new federal funding for early learning and child care will only go
to public or non-profit child care and will be used for the benefit of
children. It will prevent "Big Box" child care from milking taxpayers' dollars
to line the pockets of their shareholders.
    "Reports from Australia highlight high parent fees, poor staff wages and
working conditions and examples of child neglect. A study by The Australia
Institute showed poorer staff to child ratios, insufficient food and less time
for children compared to community child care programs", says Morna
Ballantyne, coordinator of Code Blue for Child Care.
    Activities in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa,
Moncton and Halifax will culminate in a proclamation on the steps Parliament
Hill today at 3 p.m., prior to the debate in the House.
    "Across the country, groups are demanding that the federal government
immediately prevent the foreign take-over of Canadian child care centres and
support the passage of Bill C303", said Jody Dallaire, Chair of the Child Care
Advocacy Association of Canada.
    Advocates are concerned that 123 Busy Beavers Learning Centres has
already gained a foothold in Alberta. ABC Learning Centres of Australia
operates over 2,500 programs worldwide in Australia, the United States,
Britain, New Zealand, China and other countries. "In these countries it's
reported that they have rampaged through the country buying up every centre
they can find, sweeping them clean of equipment and putting in their own
'plastic funtastics' and providing their own tacky assessment checklists and
"curriculum", said Sue Colley of Code Blue.
    "Foreign ownership of Canadian child care will kill the dream of a
pan-Canadian child care system," said Jody Dallaire. "On this International
Child Day, it's time we recognized that our children and families deserve
quality, accessible, community-based child care not some gigantic off-shore
warehouse operation."

For further information:

For further information: Shellie Bird, (613) 233-0228; Jody Dallaire,
(506) 878-8666; Sue Colley, (647) 224-4006;

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