We’ve already created tens of thousands of new pre-school child care spaces, and will move forward with creating up to 250,000 more before and after school spaces for kids under 10, with at least 10 percent of these new spaces set aside for care during extended hours.
To help families with the high cost of care, we will also lower child care fees for before and after school programs by 10 per cent across the board.
More than a million families will benefit from these lower fees. For an Ontario family of four with two kids, it will mean about $800 back in their pockets,every year.
We will also move forward with more support for our early childhood educators, to ensure that across the country, they are better paid and trained to take care of our kids. This means lower tuition costs for people getting their early childhood education degree, and extra help to cover the costs for early childhood educators seeking further training.
And to ensure that every parent – no matter where they live – has access to quality, affordable childcare, we will work with provinces and territories to create a national secretariat that will lay the groundwork for a pan-Canadian child care system.
A Green government will collaborate with provinces/territories, local communities, Indigenous communities and the child-care sector to ensure that a comprehensive short-, medium- and long-term policy road map – based on the principles of universality, affordability, quality, inclusivity and equity – finally becomes a reality.
Canada must dedicate additional resources to making a universal, affordable, early learning and child-care (ELCC) system a reality. It cannot occur without public funding. Canada needs an ELCC system that contributes to a green Canada. Thus, a Green Party government's child care plan will provide the early educator jobs that sustain local communities. It will also recognize that sparsely and unevenly available child-care services force parents to take out-of-their-way routes to child care and work, often by car. Green Party plans for child care take into account not only parents' convenience but also climate goals. Location of child care must reflect the diversity of family needs and be placed along existing public transit routes, including neighbourhood schools, other local buildings, workplaces and transportation hubs.
The best evidence suggests that ELCC is best situated within the context of other policies that support families and children. A Green Party government will follow the example of Quebec and other countries, improving and strengthening maternity/parental leave by making it more inclusive, more flexible and better paid.
Well-designed ELCC is also fundamental to meeting broader equity and social justice goals, for fighting poverty, as a foundation for children's life-long learning, and as part of the backbone of a thriving society. Quality child care yields high social and economic returns in the short and long term by:
- Supporting women’s workforce participation, education and training.
- Strengthening children’s health, development and well-being in the early years to provide a strong foundation for learning and living in later years.
- Strengthening inclusion and respect for diversity for children with disabilities, diverse ethnic and racial groups, newcomers and disadvantaged Canadians.
- Countering Canada’s slide towards being a more unequal society.
A Green Party government will immediately begin to ramp up federal child care funding to achieve the international benchmark of at least one per cent of GDP annually, adding an additional $1 billion each year until this benchmark is reached with a mature ELCC system. We will eliminate GST on all construction costs related to child-care spaces.