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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
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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EnsuringAccess to EarlyChildhoodEducation andChild Care forall Canadians
Fighter. Builder. Leader.
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.
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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