Friday, May 18

Code Blue's cross-country tour for universal child care

The Community Action Forum on the Vernon child care crisis kicked off on Tuesday morning with a demand for federal funding, legislation, and accountability provisions.

Speaker Lynell Anderson, accountant and project director at the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, directed a presentation entitled Child Care System Building: Addressing Our Social and Economic Priorities.

“We have hit the day care wall,” said Anderson. “Canada is at a crossroads where we can decide whether we build a system that meets family needs or we keep treading water.”

She addressed the fact that Canada spends the second lowest amount of federal money on child care with only $165 a month per child. Only Japan is lower with $103. Austria spends the most, coming in at $658.

In addition, the rate of access within Canadian day cares is the lowest of the 20 countries that Anderson has researched.

The second speaker at the forum agreed. Morna Ballantyne (pictured), coordinator of the Code Blue Campaign, pointed out that it is “time for governments to do the right thing so that the needs of families and children can be met.”

According to Ballantyne, the federal Conservative government is backing away from child care needs. She stated that they have committed only $600 million to all of the provinces for child care for this year. This figure is $1 billion less than last year. In addition, there is no guarantee that the money will be spent on child care.

The Code Blue for Child Care Campaign is a Canada-wide campaign to “think big and bold” in an attempt to build a pan-Canadian child care system with good wages, complete training, a progressive development program, expanded access and a high-quality, inclusive and universal social support program.

Members of the campaign are travelling around the country to spread the message of the importance of child care. They will request that the federal government provide $1.2 billion to the provinces because this would provide day care spaces for every three to five year old in the country within four years.

“It’s a bold but simple plan that Canadians can get excited about,” said Ballantyne. “It will take parental anger and turn it into a significant force that will make a difference for entire communities across the nation.”

LINK: Code Blue

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