If Ontario wants to cut child poverty and improve student achievement, it should copy Quebec's $7-a-day child care system, says the architect of the popular program that began in 1998.
Since then, Quebec's child poverty rates have dropped by 50 per cent, school test scores have gone from among the lowest to the highest in Canada and the percentage of mothers in the workforce in the province is now the highest, said Parti Québécois Leader Pauline Marois.
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Some facts in the sidebar to the article are:
Quebec's $7-a-day child care system costs $1.8 billion annually and serves 209,000 children, or about 70 per cent of the province's children under age five.
Child care, along with generous parental leave, has contributed to:
• A 50-per cent drop in child poverty in the last 10 years.
• School test scores that have gone from among the lowest to the highest in Canada.
• An increased birth rate.
• More than half of new fathers take parental leave compared with 11 per cent in the rest of the country.
• The highest post-secondary enrolment of women in Canada.
• Tax revenues from working mothers cover 40 per cent of the cost.
Ontario has 822,000 children under the age of six and about 1.9 million under the age of 13. The province and municipalities spend about $1 billion annually on 244,000 regulated child care spaces but just one-third of those are subsidized. Non-subsidized parents pay between $35 and $60 a day.
Best Quote: With talk of a fall election swirling in Quebec this week, Marois said she is keen to complete the work she began and ensure 100 per cent of the province's children have access to $7-a-day child care.
"I say, one child, one space," Marois said. "If we will form the government. I will finish the job – quickly."