Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

June 13, 2008 13:57 ET

Ontario Government Gets a Failing Grade on Child Care

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE--(Marketwire - June 13, 2008) - In a newly-released Child Care Report Card, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) gave the federal government a failing grade for its lack of action on providing working parents with more access to affordable, quality child care spaces.

Barbara Byers, CLC executive vice-president released a full set of report cards on Parliament Hill yesterday grading the provinces and the federal government on their overall performance when it comes to delivering the child care services working families need.

Based on public data provided by or through governments, the report cards measure progress (or lack thereof) in three areas:

1) affordability, measured by what it costs parents to access child care services,
2) quality, measured by the salaries paid to child care staff, and
3) accessibility, measured by the creation of new public child care spaces.

"It's an undeniable fact: the vast majority of today's Canadian moms are working moms. More than 65% of women with children under three years old work outside the home. Meanwhile, 75% of women with pre-school kids (between three and five years old) are in the paid workforce.

"Yet, despite this clear demand for services," says Byers, "only 16% of children in Canada had access to a regulated child care space in 2004. Since the Conservatives, led by Stephen Harper, took power in 2006, things haven't improved. Working women continue to face a surplus of promises and a shortage of results."

"Fulfilling Ontario's pay equity obligations to child care workers will go a long way to raise the Ontario government's grade," said Irene Harris, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour. "Child care workers in the proxy sector are owed millions of dollars in unpaid pay equity adjustments. Currently, the province owes $78 million for 2006-2007 to over 100,000 women in all-female (proxy) public sector workplaces. Thousands of these workers are child care workers and educators, who earn $23,000 a year, and are among the working poor.

Jenny Robinson, Executive Director of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care said, "Ontario has the financial capacity to improve access to quality affordable child care. In fact we have the ability to build a system of world class early learning and care for our children. What we are missing is political will, adequate public reporting and true measurable targets for improvement."

Meanwhile, events are planned across the country in the coming days at the provincial level by parents and child care activists to review how their respective province or territory scored and how to work at improving grades.

The report cards are part of the Canadian Labour Congress "Equality! Once and for All!" campaign. For more information about this important campaign for women's economic equality, or to see the full set of report cards, visit the web site www.onceandforall.ca.

In Ontario on Saturday, June 14, 2008 there will be a Rally for a national child care system to be created in Canada. The Rally starts at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's Whitby-Oshawa riding office, 204-701 Rossland Road East, in Whitby, Ontario at 11:00 a.m.
/For further information: Irene Harris, Secretary-Treasurer, Ontario Federation of Labour 416.347.0454 (cellular)
Jenny Robinson, Executive Director, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care 416.938.2625 (cellular)
Barbara Byers, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress 613.863.8522 (cellular)/ IN: FINANCE, JUSTICE, LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, Communications Director, Ontario Federation of Labour
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 665
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7665
    E-mail: dboettger@ofl.ca