Ontarians are headed to the polls on October 6th, and each of us must do what we can to put child care on the agenda and ensure that the political parties are clear about their position on child care. Candidates in our communities must know that we will be voting for child care, and that we need to hear a strong commitment from each party for funding to create more affordable high quality spaces and ensure decent wages for ECEs.
Where do they stand?
Click here for our party platform report card 2011
The Ontario NDP was the first party in the 2011 provincial election campaign to commit to new funding to stabilize and sustain Ontario child care programs.
The New Democrat plan would provide licensed child care centres with $125 million in each of the next two years to keep spaces open and freeze fees.
“New Democrats are committed to moving ahead with full day kindergarten, but we won’t let parents who need child care spaces fall through the cracks,” said Horwath. “Our affordable plan tackles the problem while protecting key services that people rely on.”
This funding deals with stabilization of the current crisis, and does not present long-term vision for child care (expanding number of spaces, growing to universal system, etc.)
There is no mention of the protection of child care space in schools
The Ontario Liberal Party includes the following quotation in their education plaftorm:
“Make early childhood development a high priority. This is the highest payoff investment we can make in our long-run prosperity.”
Despite this statement, very little is included in the party's platform to protect and improve our child care sector.
All focus is on the full day kindergarten program. The only mention of child care is the following statement:
“We’ll also work with our partners to modernize Ontario’s childcare system and support centres as they transition to offering affordable care to families with younger children.” OLP platform p. 48
However, there is NO funding set out for this in the costing document that outlines the expenses associated with their platform promises. In essence there is no funding commitment to assist child care centres in this transition.
What's in the platform instead?
- Creating a Council on Childhood Obesity whose goal will be a 20% reduction of the childhood obesity rate within 5 years.
Cost:$40 million (over 4 years)
- Healthy snack program, exposing more students to fresh, nutritious foods and building healthy eating habits.
Cost: $224 million (over 4 years)
- Doubling our Children’s Activity Tax Credit from $50 to $100 per child.
Cost: $244 million (over 4 years)
- New opportunities to get kids outside
Cost: $60 million (over 4 years)
Total: $568 million over 4 years.
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is committed to implementing full day kindergarten.
“Full-day kindergarten has challenges that need to be addressed and we believe it can be improved. But it would be a mistake to disrupt its implementation. That’s why we will make it fully operational for all four and five year olds in Ontario by 2014.”
They make no commitment to protecting child care spaces in schools, or funding child cares to aid in the transition to caring for younger children. Nothing to stop fee increases and child care closures.
The Green Party of Ontario does not refer to child care in their 5 point platform.
Get informed about the underfunding of child care, and help raise awareness in your community.
Dowload and print these information sheets:
Fact Sheet: Overview of child care underfunding, staff shortages, and impacts of Ontario's early learning program on child care
For sample questions to ask candidates at your door or in all-candidates debates:
Pamphlet: I'm Voting for Child Care! Sample questions for candidates and canvassers.
A sign to put up in your window, centre, or any other public space.
Postcards and stickers are also available!
Take action! Advocacy doesn't have to be serious or time-consuming. Check out our list of small actions you can do in as little as 5 minutes or less! What can I do if I only have...
Let your current MPP know that you support child care funding: Go to www.waitingforchildcare.ca to send an email now!
Materials are available to order for free. Click here to download the order form!
What can your centre do to make a difference and raise awareness in your community?
- Invite candidates to meet parents
- Have an election bulletin board in your centre
- Ensure parents attend all-candidate debates and are prepared to ask a question on child care
- Assist parents in writing letters to the local paper on child care during the election campaign.
- Speak out on the benefits of child care. Many newspapers have a comment section after a story in the paper. Leave a comment – most comments do not represent the majority of views of Ontarians.