Text of press release:
Advocates monitoring federal/provincial talks here encouraged the federal government to hold strong and insist on conditions for its child care funding. At the same time, they want the provinces to quit stonewalling and come to the table with plans to turn their substandard services into quality child care.
The provinces are holding out for the federal budget before making any commitments. At the same time, Ottawa is not prepared to release its $5-billion child care fund until the provinces agree to accountability measures.
"The federal government has a responsibility to Canadians to ensure public funding produces good quality care. The provinces should not get money with no strings attached," said Debra Mayer, Chair of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada.
"If waiting means good quality child care then the wait is worthwhile. However there are thousands of families lined up for child care across Canada. They are not prepared to wait forever," said Mayer. "Minister Dryden needs to jump start the national program with those provinces that are prepared to move."
She said the call for accountability, quality and non-profit services had an impact. "The concerns of parents were heard." The Association said it will continue to call on the federal and provincial governments to put the needs of children and families first, and reach an agreement containing adequate public funding, legislation, concrete accountability measures and non-profit expansion of services.
In the interim there are provinces and territories willing to provide the necessary assurances, Mayer said. "The federal government can immediately enter into bilateral agreements with those provinces to kick start the plan."