Who'll make the grade on child care?
Parents, activists to issue "report card" for party leaders before June 12 vote
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 20, 2014) - Years of starts, shifts and cuts, add up to inadequate public funding and ineffectual provincial policy by successive governments. It's time for this situation to end, say a group of parents, early childhood educators and activists who, this election are challenging party leaders to "make the grade on child care".
During this election campaign, Ontario families who need child care so they can work, retrain and attend school, are looking for the parties seeking to form government to commit to a package of immediate, short-term and long-term remedies outlined last week at a media conference outside Queen's Park.
"We're listening carefully for the right answers and grading the party leaders on their efforts and commitment to improve access to licensed child care and to stabilize existing programs. There will be a report card letting voters know who made the grade and who failed," says Brooke Richardson, a mother of three and one of the parent members of the group.
So far none of the party leaders are off to a rousing start. Report card marks are dismal, ranging from mediocre Ds for the NDP and the Liberals to downright failure for Hudak and the PCs.
While both the Liberals and the NDP reiterated old policy planks, neither put forward a long-term plan including goals, targets and timetables to build a system. Neither made a commitment to provide $300 million in funding to keep child care centres from closing.
As for the Progressive Conservatives (PCs) in response to questions from media, Tim Hudak equated investments in licensed child care to incurring credit card debt. He also said he would cut staffing in full day kindergarten in half as part of
massive overall education cuts.
"The Hudak PCs get an F. Over all there is much room for improvement," says Richardson.
The child care report card will be made available early in June, well before election day on June 12.
Party leaders asked to commit to a 6-point plan for early learning and child care
The Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario, Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario), Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, Childcare Resource and Research Unit and Advocates for Progressive Child Care Policy are calling on the leaders of Ontario's three main political parties to respond to concerns about the state of early childhood education and child care by committing, if elected,
to six key elements toward a strategy that will begin to fix early
childhood education and child care in Ontario.
Open Letter to the leaders of Ontario's three main political
The Childcare Research and Resource Unit(CRRU) has selected materials from the political parties, NGOs and news media to explain how ECEC is positioned in this election campaign. CRRU will continue to update this page as new developments occur.
Ontario need a good child care strategy
Editorial - Toronto Star, May 13, 2014
Despite Premier Kathleen Wynne's $269-million budget proposal for a $2-an-hour boost to day-care workers' wages, and Horwath's promise to spend $100 million on the centres, no leader is talking about a long-term strategy for survival for the struggling $900-million system.
Parents need child care to work, party leaders told
Toronto Star, May 9, 2014
Parents, daycare workers and early childhood educators want party leaders to commit to raising wages of chronically low-paid child-care staff and to make an emergency investment of $300 million to prevent more daycares from closing, said Andrea
Calver of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.
Ontario election: Horwath vows $100M to support
Toronto Star, May 11, 2014
NDP leader Andrea Horwath says licensed child care needs an immediate one-time cash infusion of $100 million in order to keep centres open. Meanwhile, PC leader Tim Hudak suffered another campaign gaffe.