Ontario child-care advocates have given the Progressive Conservatives an F for a campaign platform that makes no mention of child care or early childhood education — except to threaten laying off thousands of early childhood education workers.
The Liberals and New Democrats tied with a C for scattershot promises to improve parts of the child-care system, but not all. A coalition of parents, educators, research and advocacy groups was to release the campaign report card Monday, rating the three main parties’ election stands on child care.
“What we’re looking for overall in 2014 is a full policy framework for child care — and child care actually helps create jobs (by allowing parents to get training and go out to work),” said Martha Friendly, executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit.
“If the Conservatives wanted to create a million jobs, improving child care would have been a better way to do it (than cutting 100,000 public sector jobs.)”
The Liberals won top marks for promising to work with other provinces to put a national child-care program back on the agenda and to reintroduce legislation to modernize daycare in Ontario. They drew an F for not pledging $300 million for “immediate crises” in child care, such as the closing of municipal centres and longer waiting lists, and also for not promising to place a moratorium on new for-profit daycare centres.
The New Democrats won top marks for promising the for-profit moratorium, as well as pledging $100 million to maintain child-care spaces and promising to raise funding at the rate of inflation, but lost marks for not mentioning the need for a national child-care plan and not mentioning the legislation that would modernize Ontario daycare.
Both parties vow to improve child-care workers’ wages and remain committed to full-day kindergarten.