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Conservatives slammed over lack of daycare spaces [CA]

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CBC News
Publication Date: 
9 Jan 2007

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The Conservative government has not produced any new child-care spaces despite promising before the election a year ago to create 25,000 spots within 12 months, critics say.

In a report to be released Thursday, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada calls on the government to abandon its plan, which it describes as piecemeal. The non-profit group demands the government come up with a more comprehensive strategy.

"There has not been one new space created," said Monica Lysack, the association's executive director told CBC News.

"Somewhere around 80 per cent of children don't have access to licensed early learning child care programs. So there's a huge need."

During the campaign before the Conservatives won the election of Jan. 23, 2006, Harper promised to ease the childcare crunch. He promised to give families $1,200 a year per child under six. Parents have been getting their cheques since July.

Harper also said a Conservative government would create 125,000 spaces over five years with the help of the private sector and non-profit organizations which would get a $10,000 tax credit for every space created.

"We figure we'll reasonably create about 25,000 spaces a year," Harper said then.

A year later, no spaces have been created and the plan for more spaces hasn't been completed yet.

Victoria Sopic, the president of Kids and Company, a company that creates day care spaces for corporations, said business has lots of interest in child care.

But Catherine Swift of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said not everyone in the business community is able to provide space for child care.

"It may work with a larger company on a large premises. But the small- and medium-sized business sector, it's not likely to be practical."

Monte Solberg, who became minister of human resources and social development in the cabinet shuffle on Jan. 4, was not available to comment. His office said he was still learning the file.

- reprinted from the CBC News