On March 31st, Michael Ignatieff announced the Liberal Party's Child Care and Early Learning Platform for the May 2011 election. Ignatieff vowed a Liberal government would invest $500 Million to a new Early Learning and Care fund that would grow to $1 Billion annually by the fourth federal budget.
This funding would be magnified by investments made by the Provinces and would immediately begin to address some of the issues of high costs and lack of spaces. The funding would be intended to create new spaces and train ECEs.
“We want to focus on what the issue is,” Mr. Ignatieff said. “Long lists, parents desperate to get their children into a a great early learning and child care experience. We want to get this done as quickly as possible.”
Though this is not a national child care program, it is a significant investment and a step in the right direction towards meeting the needs of Canadian families. Child care is too expensive, and there is not enough of it. This funding would help create new spaces and make child care more affordable.
For a story in the Globe and Mail, please click here.
To view video coverage of this announcement, please click here.
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child care says the Liberal proposal could mean real services families are desperate for.
"This is a very significant amount of money," said Andrea Calver, coordinator of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. "One of the aspects of federal money in childcare is that it's meant to be combined with provincial money. So in fact the significant commitment of money put forward by the Liberals [would] be magnified in local communities with corresponding provincial investments."
Calver says the number of women in the labour force keeps increasing, but the number of daycare spaces hasn't.
"[Parents] actually need services, not just cash payments," she said. "To put this kind of significant money aside means that those services, actual childcare spaces, affordable childcare in communities, will significantly increase."
The preceding quotations were taken from an article on the CBC website. To read more click here.
The YWCA supports the announcement, seeing it as a solid investment in the needs of Canadian women.
“We’d be happy to see more funding sooner but, in terms of policy, this is the vision, and the funding will create new spaces. Women are not going to let a national child care strategy slip away again,” says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada.
“The Early Learning and Child Care Fund announcement is a big step in the right direction,” says Ann Decter, YWCA Canada’s Director of Advocacy and Public Policy. “And so is the recognition that there’s a shortage of high-quality, affordable child care. We expect all parties to follow suit and ensure child care services become a piece of the Canadian social structure. It’s a sensible national policy response to the world as it is today.”
“This federal money, combined with provincial dollars, will create services that are desperately needed by Canadian families today,” says Andrea Calver, coordinator of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. “This is a significant commitment of money that will result in actual affordable child care spaces, and that’s what’s needed now.”
To read the full press release, please click here.
Watch the YWCA's Ann Decter on CTV's Power Play here.
For an article in the Edmonton Sun, please click here.
For an article on iPolitics.ca, please click here.