Provincial daycare reforms are bad for women and families

Ottawa Citizen

Provincial daycare reforms bad for women and children

Because the province’s proposed new regulations mean that fewer infants may receive care in local daycares. Infants would instead graduate to the “toddler room,” formerly the sole province of the terrible twos, at a year old. Previously, they went at 18 months, when most children are walking alone, as well as running and climbing. Some parents worry the new regulations mean their infants could be literally run over by careless toddlers.

But it goes beyond that: those “toddler rooms” would have to get bigger to meet the demand. Many care facilities might be cut out of the opportunity to provide care, simply because their rooms don’t meet the size requirements.

In turn, because the new regulations provide less incentive to create space for infants, many care facilities are contemplating ending daycare services for children less than 12 months. For parents who are self-employed, or who don’t have a full year of maternity or paternity leave, this creates a terrible predicament. Should they take unpaid leave? Should they risk their jobs to do so?

The average age for a child to begin enrolment in Ontario daycare centres is eight months. But if infant rooms close, parents will simply have to wait.

So what does this have to do with Canada’s poverty reduction strategy?

Parents have to work. Period. If Canada cares about creating jobs and opportunity, parents need the resources to go back to work whenever they want, or whenever they have to. In the era of the gig economy and seemingly-endless contract work, fewer workers have access to real maternity and paternity leave."