On International Women’s Day, the need for national child care is more pressing than ever

Toronto Star 

"The case for national child care remains as strong as ever. Consider that 75 per cent of mothers of young children are in the workforce, but licenced day care spots exist for just 22 per cent of children under 5. It’s even tougher for parents trying to get their child into a subsidized day care spot. In Toronto alone there are almost 12,000 eligible children in the queue.

And consider the costs to families. Last year a study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that average families with two children in Toronto were paying a staggering 48 per cent of their after-tax income on child care.

And that’s families whose parents can find child care so they can go out and work. Others — think of single mums — who can’t find care simply can’t work. Their economic prospects are even grimmer.

It’s not just parents who are losing out. A TD Bank study found that for every $1 invested in child care, provincial governments receive $1.50 in increased tax revenues.

And then there’s the cost to the children themselves. Early childhood education reduces inequalities that result from poverty. And it decreases the number of children in special education classes by identifying problems and intervening early. Indeed, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada concluded that the lack of affordable child care was putting the health and well-being of children at risk."