Saturday, March 15

Child Care Loses the Game of Fiscal Choices Again

Canada's children barely got a mention in this year's Conservative budget which was noteworthy for its dearth of recognition that Canadians need and value social programs.

Almost 800,000 children in Canada live in poverty. Canada lags behind its peer nations in early childhood education and child care with fewer than 20% of those 0-12 years old able to access regulated child care services.

OECD Report - Starting Strong II

The 2006 OECD report, entitled Starting Strong II, found Canada spending less on early childhood education and care than its European counterparts, and lacking in national co-ordination.

The study placed Canada last among 14 nations, with total expenditures around 0.25 per cent of GDP on education for 0-6-year-olds. This is far behind Nordic countries like countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden, who all spent over 1.5 per cent of GDP educating the very young, with excellent results.

The Federal Department of Finance has used OECD comparisons to call for more debt reduction but has not chosen to pay heed to the OECD's warnings about the consequences of ignoring early learning and child care nor to its recommendations to Canada calling for substantial increases in public spending.

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