Canadians favour a national child-care system over direct cash payments to parents, a new study sponsored by the YWCA Canada suggested Monday.Let's hope this carries some weight, and opposition in Parliament remains united. $1200 - before taxes! - won't pay for a year of babysitting, never mind beer and popcorn.
The report's findings were drawn from the work of four panels from representative communities of Halifax, Vancouver, Cambridge, Ont., and Martensville, Sask.
The panels met over the course of a year with business and labour, aboriginal, ethnic, community, women's and parent groups, profit and non-profit service providers and municipal and provincial officials.
"The findings dispense with many assumptions that Canada is too vast and diverse to make a national child-care program viable," YWCA chief executive officer Paulette Senior said.
"We found that both mothers at home and those in the labour force want early-learning programs for their children."
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According to Monday's report, all four panels involved in the YWCA study returned with so-called hub models that would offer uniform accessible public child care and related programs. The proposals also recommended using the existing "patchwork" of child-care across the country as a starting point.
None of the panels favoured giving money directly to parents, noting that that kind of funding will not address the absence of available services.
The report also recommended that governments take primary responsibility to support early childhood learning and care services and that legislation be introduced to guarantee all children "high quality, developmentally appropriate, affordable and inclusive" care regardless of their socio-economic status, location, language or culture.
The study also suggested that formal steps be taken by the federal government to ensure its accountability for the system. It also argued that funding to those providing service be conditional on their meeting service and quality standards.
Globe And Mail story here, YWCA study results here.