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Martha Friendly: Why high-quality universal child care is part of a more equal Canada for all of us

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Friendly, Martha
Publication Date: 
16 Jan 2013


Economic, generational, gender and racial equality means creating
public structures to sustain families and children by ensuring that the
necessary resources to support them are provided using public funds
generated through a fair tax system. With respect to child care, it
means creating the universal, high quality, publicly managed early
childhood education and childcare system that—if well designed as a
system, not a market—can be the backbone of support for families.

Canada’s child care situation “shows” very poorly in comparative international
analyses.  Just last month, a United Nations Committee examining
Canada's progress towards our compliance with the Convention on the
Rights of the Child admonished Canada on child care, commenting on the
lack of public funding, inadequacy of provision, reliance on private,
for-profit operations and absence of a coordinated, holistic approach –
not the first time Canada has been taken to task regarding child care as
a human right. Surely if Canadian children aren’t to have ‘first call’,
as the Convention specifies they should, their call on Canada’s
resources shouldn’t—at the least—be last.