OTTAWA, March 22, 2016 /CNW/ - By deferring urgently needed funds for child care to the 2017 budget, the Trudeau government has missed an excellent opportunity to do better to advance women's equality, reduce poverty and give real help to the middle class this year. All these were recurring key themes in the October election campaign and in the lead up to the budget.
Responding to the budget, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC) said the federal government's approach to child care as social infrastructure should have reflected the urgency of child care needs now, as well Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's remarks last week about the more massive physical infrastructure program: "focus on unsexy, yet desperately needed projects" to "lay the groundwork for better growth over the longer term".
"We're glad the federal and provincial/territorial governments have gotten together to start the work of developing the National Child Care Framework and we know it is going to take some time to get it right", said Carolyn Ferns, CCAAC Board member. "But struggling families also need help this year in this budget".
The child care group has declared its commitment to building a publicly funded and managed child care system supported by a federal/provincial/territorial/Indigenous policy framework backed by solid evidence and research.
However, the CCAAC stressed that notwithstanding this long-term view, federal funds are desperately needed now to shore up services.
"Families across Canada cannot find quality spaces, nor can they afford the sky-high fees. Few can access a fee subsidy even if they're eligible because waiting lists are too long or subsidies cover too little of the cost", said Ferns. "Even if fixing the holes in Canada's weak child care services may not be "sexy", help for families—middle income, low income and woman-lead—would be part of laying the groundwork for better growth over the long term".
The CCAAC called for an infusion of $600 million from the Social Infrastructure Fund for child care in this budget ($100 million for Indigenous communities and $500 million for transfer payments to provinces/territories) to begin the process of laying the groundwork for a universal, high quality, comprehensive early childhood education and care program.
SOURCE Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada