Toronto, Ont. – Advocates are cautiously optimistic about the unusual NDP-Liberal consensus on early learning, seeing it as step in the right direction for Ontario’s children. Both the Liberals and the NDP have pledged to expand early learning and care programs.
By contrast, the Progressive Conservatives’ position is a huge disappointment. They have committed to “building on the success of the early years centers” but have not committed any new funding to an early learning and care system.
“We will need to see substantial investments for both expansion and strengthening of the current patchwork of public and non-profit early learning and child care”, commented Shellie Bird, OCBCC President. “How we work through joint governance issues between schools and current child care programs will be critical for ensuring that no child is left behind”.
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCBCC) has called for:
· direct funding of child care programs to ensure a space for every child in Ontario;
· an end to public funding for commercial for-profit child care centres; and
· implementation of the recommendations in the “Investing in Quality” report, which calls for increased compensation for early childhood professionals.
The OCBCC is interested in the policy implementation issues, such as joint governance between schools and child care programs, the current inadequate pay levels of early childhood educators, and the status of child care centres both in schools and those based in communities.
“The Coalition is looking forward to working closely with the next provincial government in developing and immediately implementing a system-building strategy,” said Elizabeth Ablett, Executive Director of the OCBCC. “We urge the next provincial government to work with all stakeholders to ensure that early learning and care truly meets the needs of all young children and their parents.”