Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

June 27, 2012 16:43 ET

Not expanding access to child care for years will hurt Ontario families and the economy

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 27, 2012) - With tens of thousands of families province-wide waiting for accessible, licensed child care, Ontario's Liberal government today announced that it does not intend to expand access to child care while it undertakes a three-year "modernization" initiative of the province's piecemeal child care system.

"We are pleased that the Liberals are finally turning their minds to the crisis in child care and realizing the importance of a policy framework for early learning and child care. However, we are concerned that to not expand access to child care - as the government intends to do - will, in no way help Ontario's economic recovery over the next few years and the many parents needing child care so they can work," says Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario social service sector chair. CUPE represents thousands of municipal, school and community-based child care and early learning educators across the province.

Equally of concern is that at a time when for-profit, corporate-style child care is expanding at a record pace in Ontario, there is no discussion offered on whether continuing to fund and license for-profit child care is good public policy, says Poole-Cotnam.

Research shows clearly that high-quality child care programs benefit children by providing enriched early learning experiences and that for-profit child care is more likely to be poorer in quality and to provide poorer access than public and non-profit child care. Experience in other countries with for-profit child care has also revealed that for-profit child care ends up costing the public purse, as public funds are siphoned off to shareholder profits.

"We are calling on the province to create the breathing room to develop a truly comprehensive early learning and care vision and plan by not issuing new licenses to for-profit child care operators," says Poole-Cotnam.

In the March 2012 budget the Liberals included new funding for child care, an acknowledgement that many child care programs - destabilized by the introduction of full-day kindergarten - are on the brink of closing.

"When so many community-based child care centres are struggling to stay open and thousands of parents need licensed care, it is particularly punitive public policy to dole out that funding in dribs and drabs. Rather, the full amount of $242 million should be used immediately to ensure child care programs stay open. We can't afford to lose programs when so families need accessible child care," said Poole-Cotnam.

Contact Information

  • Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam
    Chair, CUPE Ontario Social Service Sector
    (613) 864-1061

    Stella Yeadon
    CUPE Communications
    (416) 559-9300