OTTAWA, Nov. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - A publicly funded national child care system is desperately needed to replace the market-based approach that has failed families with young children for decades, says a discussion document released today by ChildCare2020.
Child Care in Canada in 2020: A Vision and a Way Forward was prepared by the convening organizations of an upcoming child care policy conference in Winnipeg, Nov. 13-15.
The document says that without strong federal involvement in child care policy and funding, "provincial/territorial programs on their own will continue to evolve in painful, slow steps leaving many parents unable to find or afford quality programs for their children."
Individualized mechanisms such as the Universal Child Care Benefit and tax breaks such as income splitting are not the answer to Canada's growing child care crisis, says the document. They benefit families with higher incomes most and syphon off billions of taxpayer dollars that could instead be used to create high quality services.
The document notes that Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations yet consistently receives failing grades from international reviewers such as Unicef and the OECD when it comes to provision of high quality early childhood education and child care. Many other national governments have acted on the evidence showing multiple benefits of a public program: women's equality and employment, social integration, improved child development and well-being, and economic prosperity.
The document sets out a vision of what a Canadian system could look like, emphasizing that both robust policy and adequate funding are needed to ensure all families have access to an array of high quality services. As well, the national program would not mean one-size-fits-all services. Provinces, territories, Indigenous communities and local governments would plan their own early childhood education and child care programs within a broad federal framework.
"A well-designed national child care program could be structured to fit the brand of federalism that created other national social programs valued by Canadians such as Medicare….Within the national framework, provinces and territories would determine the mix of services, training arrangements, curriculum frameworks and other elements."
ChildCare 2020 is the first national child care policy conference in a decade. The main goal of the conference is renewed action on early childhood education and child care.
Convening Organizations: Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, Canadian Child Care Federation, Childcare Resource and Research Unit.
SOURCE: Public Service Alliance of Canada
For further information: Martha Friendly, Executive Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit, 416 562-7579 (c); Bozica Costigliola, 613 866-1440 (c), firstname.lastname@example.org; Download conference paper here (http://childcare2020.ca/sites/default/files/VisionChildCare2020Nov3ENG_.pdf)