Olivia Chow Renews Call for Regulated Childcare Program

MP Olivia Chow, New Democrats Child Care Critic, is calling on Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to establish and fund a national child care program, in the wake of the recent tragic death of a child while in unregulated care.

Chow pointed out that with long waiting lists for affordable, high quality and licensed early learning and child care services across the country, working parents desperate for child care have no choice but to rely unregulated child care.

Last week, fourteen month-old Duy-An Nguyen died at April’s Daycare. April Luckese, the owner of the unregulated home care business, has been charged with second degree murder.

“This tragedy highlights again how hard-working parents have absolutely no choice — without a proper national child care program, parents have to wait for years for a subsidy for high quality licensed childcare,” said Chow. “And even when space is available, many parents just can’t afford the $65 or more a day it can cost.”

Chow stressed after numerous deaths and injuries inquests have repeatedly recommended the creation of licensed, high quality and affordable child care. But with the exception of Quebec, successive governments have ignored the life and death needs of Canadian children.

Chow proposed legislation in 2006 to create a national child care program, the National Early Learning and Child Care Act. The bill passed second reading and was at Report Stage when it died after the 2008 election was called. Chow reintroduced the Bill in this Parliament’s current session.

But Chow points out that not only has Stephen Harper’s government refused to create a high quality regulated child care system, when Harper’s government came to power in 2006 they cut federal transfer dollars by $350 million annually.

“It’s not too late for Stephen Harper to listen to the needs of working families,” said Chow. “In the coming budget, he can invest new dollars for child care and support our bill, to finally create a national child care program. This will give parents real choices and reduce the risks facing children of working parents.”

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