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Access to Early Childhood Education and Child Care

Access to Early Childhood Education and Child Care

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Published by PeggyNash

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Published by: PeggyNash on Jan 26, 2012
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10/08/2012

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EnsuringAccess to EarlyChildhoodEducation andChild Care forall Canadians
Fighter. Builder. Leader.
 
2
Peggy Nash Campaign
for the Leadership of the New Democratic Party
Fighter. Builder. Leader.peggynash.ca
 At Issue
Universal child care has been acknowledged or 40 years as a undamental component o women’s ull equality.Nowadays, experts and practitioners agree that well-designed early childhood educationand care (ECEC) programs carry multiple benefts or individuals and society whilehelping build a strong, prosperous economy. ECEC is considered a key to equality andsocial justice or a wide range o communities and critical in the fght to eradicate poverty.Evidence shows that early childhood education and care can yield high social andeconomic returns in the short and long term by:
•
Supporting women’s participation in the workorce and in education and training;
•
Helping keep amilies out o poverty;
•
Strengthening inclusion and respect or diversity;
•
Building strong local economies and creating good jobs;
•
Countering shrinkage o our uture labour orce as working populations age;
•
Augmenting Canada’s prosperity by investing in our knowledge base;
•
Strengthening cognitive and social skills as well as children’s health and well-being inthe early years to provide a strong oundation or learning and living in later years;
•
Strengthening the equity, citizenship, social inclusion, and opportunities orcooperation, participation, and collaboration that orm the oundations o a strongcivil society;
•
Countering Canada’s slide towards being a more unequal society.Such social and economic benefts can only be achieved i ECEC programming isdesigned to be o high quality and accessible.Evidence also indicates that instead o relying on “the market”, Canada shouldimplement non-proft services ocused on benefting children, amilies, society, and theeconomy.
 
3
Peggy Nash Campaign
for the Leadership of the New Democratic Party
Fighter. Builder. Leader.peggynash.ca
In Context
Canada remains without a national child care plan, without pan-Canadian collaborationor fnancing, and without political leadership on this issue. While signifcant strides havebeen made by Quebec, provinces and territories have by and large yet to develop anadequate, well-designed, well-resourced approach to ECEC.The situation can be summed up as “too little money, too little policy”, resulting in aconsiderable gap in Canada’s social saety net that negatively aects children and amiliesas well as communities, society, the workorce, and the economy – now and in the uture.Since the 1980s, several attempts to create a national ECEC program have beenabandoned beore they could move rom drawing board to implementation.In 2007, the Harper Conservatives derailed a 2005 ECEC initiative by unilaterallycancelling agreements with provinces/territories that could have provided the rameworkor a more proactive, better-coordinated/unded approach to ECEC.The Harper Conservatives then introduced the “Universal Child Care Beneft” (UCCB),a monthly cheque to amilies or every child under age 6 (taxable). The $2.5 billion(annual) UCCB – intended to deliver the greatest beneft to two-parent amilies withone parent in the labour orce – has been widely criticized as poorly-spent money thatrepresents neither child care nor a poverty eradication program.Federal ECEC unds to provinces/territories have since been cut while any discussionbetween the ederal and provincial/territorial governments about pertinent social policyhas been abandoned.Meanwhile, amilies, children and community-based ECEC service providers bear thebrunt o shrinking options and fnancing. Availability, aordability, and quality are allthreatened as community-based programs close and new, or-proft corporations andcentre owners take advantage o the policy chaos to exploit service and unding shortages.

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