It's probably not surprising that childcare data was one of the first casualties of the data crimes and misdemeanors that have swamped Canada's stock of valuable information used by social groups, business analysts and policy makers to understand critical issues.
Child care in Ontario has been having a rough ride for some years. Most recently, the current election call illustrates the precariousness of child care in the absence of a federal role and without solid, well-developed provincial policy. In Ontario and Canada-wide, the state of child care is dismal in just about every way - spaces unavailable, quality uneven, wildly varied but mostly unaffordable parent fees, low staff wages, weak regulation.
By Martha Friendly & Carolyn Ferns
Another February 6th, and for those of us in the child care community, it's a time to reflect on Canada's close-but-no-cigar national child care program. You remember, right?
The last year or two has seen a flood of media stories about unregulated (or unlicensed) child care situations with no public oversight in which children have died, were injured, or put at risk. We've read about:
An article in the April 29th issue of The New Republic has generated considerable interest in US child care as its content and perspective have been picked up and extended in social media, other magazines, US TV, radio and daily newspapers and even in offshore news media.
On this International Women's Day, think again....
Here are ten indications that Canada's lack of action on universal child care continues to have a profound impact on women in all regions of Canada-- across the life span, across diverse groups and across the economic spectrum:
If anything positive has emerged from Canada's growing inequality, it is that a conversation about "the Canada we want" has begun, as pundits and ordinary Canadians have begun to make the connections between health and wealth, public services and social justice, economics and democracy, taxes, inequality and social programs. Over the past year, public forums, blogs, conferences, and the media have explored these issues that came to full public attention when the Occupy Movement shone a spotlight on inequality.
Those of us who regularly Google "child care Ontario" can't help but notice the growing number of local news items that describe the pandemonium threatening child care across the province. This includes not only last week's major report from Toronto Children's Services but news items in local media outlets in Waterloo, Ottawa, Parry Sound, Cambridge, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, Cornwall (and probably others that I haven't seen).
I'm sure I'm not alone in that young children and low income single mothers don't immediately leap to mind when I hear "stop the gravy train". "Stop the gravy train" elicits images of highly-paid executives or well-pensioned fat-cat employees drawing high salaries and not putting in a decent day's work. But for most Canadians, three-year-olds in child care, single mothers struggling to pay the rent and feed the kids, and notoriously poorly-paid early childhood educators would hardly seem to be cruising along on any kind of gravy train, even in the caboose.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the mountain of evidence about the value of good child care should be more than enough to convince Canadian policy makers to act - if there's any interest out there in evidence-based policy making. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) has been studied from the perspective of child development and early educational advantage, anti-poverty, balancing work and family, human rights/children's rights, women's equality and smart economics. New studies looking at child care every which way appear with exasperating regularity.