A strong majority of Nova Scotians (87%) believe it's important for government to be involved in making sure families' child care needs are met, according to a new poll from Environics.
That's one of the key findings in a province-wide poll which was conducted on behalf of CUPE Nova Scotia. The union is releasing the poll results as part of International Women's Week (IWD is March 8) because, it argues, affordable child care is central to women's equality.
CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh says, "41% of those surveyed described government's role as ‘very important', with 46% saying it was ‘somewhat important'. Only around one in ten of those surveyed described government's role as ‘not important'. In other words, Nova Scotians want to see action from their government on this issue."
Cavanagh says the provincial government can have a central role in creating a stable and sustainable child care system that is as innovative and nurturing in rural Nova Scotia as it is in Halifax.
Early Childhood Educator Michelle Lohnes says, "I was really encouraged to learn that more than three-quarters of those surveyed (76%) agreed with the statement that ‘most child care workers in Nova Scotia are very underpaid for their work and level of responsibility'.
"I know the provincial Minister of Community Services has stated publicly that she agrees with this. But now it's time for the provincial government to address this wage unfairness and put policies in place to ensure child care workers can earn a living wage in this province," says Lohnes, who works at St. Joseph's Children's Centre.
CUPE Women's Committee Chair Lisa deMolitor says, "This poll also shows that two-thirds of Nova Scotians believe that not-for-profit child care centres are the best model. This supports the Government's own data. Between April, 2011 and March 31st, 2012 18 child care centres closed in our province - 16 of those were commercial operators, 2 were non-profit centres.
The poll was conducted among 704 adult Nova Scotia residents between November 23 and December 5, 2012. The margin of error for a sample this size is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points (at the 95% confidence level). The pollster was the Environics Research Group. The union plans to share the results with the provincial government in the weeks ahead.