Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ottawa

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ottawa

March 24, 2009 10:00 ET

Ontario Budget, Economic Stimulus Must Include Dollars for Child Care Ontarians Can't Work, Retrain, Study Without It

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 24, 2009) - A growing number of economic experts say that substantial investment in child care in tough economic times makes good economic sense to support Ontarians to work, retrain and study.

David Macdonald, an economist who works with the Alternative Federal Budget Project at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), outlined at an Ottawa media conference today why economic stimulus investment in 'soft' infrastructure, like child care, is also a good investment.

Ontarians can't work and laid-off workers can't retrain without access to affordable child care because child care is as much an economic workforce issue as it is an issue for Ontario families, he said.

"Federal economic stimulus dollars went almost exclusively into hard infrastructure," says Macdonald. "But the McGuinty government should chart its own path and balance hard infrastructure stimulus with much needed soft infrastructure spending in areas like child care."

Macdonald's and other researchers' findings show that soft infrastructure has the same stimulative effect of producing approximately $1.80 in economic activity for every dollar of government spending "but adds a much needed gender dimension. Women are much more likely to be employed in child care and working women gain the most benefit from accessible child care. Ontario needs to act as a counterweight to the purely hard infrastructure investment by the federal government," he said.

At the media conference, one of a series held with coalition partners such as CUPE, Macdonald and concerned parents called for the Dalton McGuinty government to ensure $600 million in new child care funding in the provincial budget to be released on March 26. Half that amount is needed for operational cost of living increases and to ensure that 22,000 child care subsidies-now threatened when federal funds expire for the Best Start program-are maintained. The other $300 million must go to new capital spending to create 5,000 new classrooms for new all-day learning and care programs.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)
    David Macdonald
    Economist with the Alternative Federal Budget Project
    (613) 725-7606
    CUPE Communications
    Sebastien Goulet
    (613) 808-0675