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Protest bridges child care gap [CA]

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Czekaj, Laura
Publication Date: 
31 Mar 2007

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Corina Crawley's unborn child is on the waiting list for a coveted space in Ottawa's child-care system. The rush to get her baby on the list only 5 months into her pregnancy is not about being proactive, the mom-to-be insists. It's about being realistic.

"I know that the waiting list is really long and I know a lot of people who have been on it for several years," she said.

Like many parents, 32-year-old Crawley and her common-law partner are finding that the lack of available spaces is only half the problem. Putting an infant or toddler in licensed child care costs about $1,400 a month in Ottawa.

The expectant mother stood shoulder-to-shoulder yesterday with more than 100 parents, child-care providers and others who were "bridging the gap" between Ontario's child-care system and Quebec's universal system by demonstrating along the Portage Bridge.

Quebec parents pay $7 a day for child care, while Ontario parents have to shell out roughly $55, noted Morna Ballantyne, co-ordinator of Code Blue for Child Care.

"The main difference is that on that side of the river, they have a provincial government that recognizes the importance of building an accessible, affordable child care system," said Ballantyne.

The protest was also meant to draw attention to a $1-billion cut to early learning and child care by the federal Conservative government, which is instead providing $250 million to create care spaces.


- reprinted from the Ottawa Sun