Text of the press release:
Cabinet's expected decision today to not fully implement Dr. Charles Pascal's vision of seamless full-day learning would be a "betrayal of Ontario's families and a massive failure of vision on the part of the McGuinty Government," the President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, said today.
Fred Hahn was responding to published reports stating the McGuinty Cabinet today would vote to absolve school boards of the responsibility to operate before and after school care for schools providing full-day Kindergarten in Ontario, and absolve the government themselves of having to adequately fund before and after care.
These programs are critical to the success of the full-day learning vision expressed by the Premier's Special Advisor on early learning, Dr. Charles Pascal, in his report, 'With our Best Future in Mind,' which laid out the framework for implementing full-day learning in Ontario.
"The Pascal report was always about more than 'full-day Kindergarten.' It was about a bold vision of an integrated system of childcare and family supports to prepare our province for the 21st century. It also required the province to provide school boards with the necessary supports and resources to properly roll out the program--something that hasn't happened so far," said Hahn.
"Key to Dr. Pascal's vision was the notion that kids had to be at the core of full-day learning. If the reports are in fact true, then the McGuinty Government caved in to lobbying by private, third-party providers seeking to maintain and expand their businesses."
The rumoured Cabinet cave-in flies in the face of overwhelming evidence from dozens of experts, organizations and stakeholders that the seamless, publicly-operated system provides the most benefit for kids at the best value, as well as providing Ontario's economy with one of the strongest tools for badly-needed economic growth.
"Last August, economists from the Centre for Spatial Economics estimated that every dollar invested in Dr. Pascal's vision would generate a $2.42 return," said Hahn.
"Abandoning before and after care leaves Ontario with an already fragmented child care system that will continue to fragment, quality will continue to suffer and children and families won't be better off for the investments already made. This abandonment would represent a betrayal of Ontario's families and a massive failure of vision by the McGuinty Government," he added.