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Liberal caucus group wants preschool place for every child by 2007. (Children & Families).

OTTAWA -- Every child three to five years old should have a preschool place by 2007 and Ottawa needs to spend up to $1 billion in the next fiscal year on the national child care strategy, a report by the Liberal Caucus Social Policy Committee in Parliament states.

Noting that the uneven progress in child care is understandable since high quality child care is the most expensive child development service, the report, A National Child Care Strategy: Getting the Architecture Right, states that no early years strategy can be successful unless considerable progress is made.

Chaired by John Godfrey, a Liberal MP, the committee in conjunction with the Caledon Institute of Social Policy also notes that without substantial dedicated funding plus agreements with the provinces, territories and/or local governments it will be impossible to "reach the goals governments have set for Canada's children."

Although the report suggests that the foundation for developing a high quality national system of child care already exists within the Early Childhood Development Agreement, it outlines four potential implementation mechanisms in the event that current mechanism for policy initiatives were deemed unfeasable.

The committee proposes:

* adding a codicil to the existing ECDA to dedicate federal funding to child care;

* a new National Child Care strategy be developed between the federal government, the provinces and territories in the event that the provinces balk at the codicil for dedicated funds;

* signing of bi-lateral agreements with jurisdictions interested in proceeding in new investment in this area and signing of agreements between Ottawa and municipalities, if there is no basis for an agreement between the governments.

The report also called for a federal expenditure of $10.9 billion over a four-year period for quality, national child care.
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Publication:Community Action
Date:Dec 9, 2002
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