Regional Representatives Reports

[ read the October 2003 & May 2003 reports ]

Province/Territory: New Brunswick

Parent Rep: Jody Dallaire

Government Child Care Policy
The ‘best news’ about government’s child care policy in my province:

  • NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women is leading a public awareness campaign – met with the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council who committed to further meetings to discuss a long term plan for the child care sector – that would come out of recommendations made by the provincial Wage Gap Round Table. Follow up meeting took place today (sector represented as well as parents).
  • 2 pilot projects in NB looking at integrating the child care sector more closely with the school system.
  • Early Childhood Care & Education NB (the provincial association) is gaining strength and is working on a strategic plan and strategies for influencing rather than reacting to government policy. Launching a public awareness campaign across the province prior to the federal and provincial budgets.

The ‘worst news’ about government’s child care policy in my province:

  • The Provincial government is projecting a $350 million deficit for next fiscal year. In its last mandate, Government decreased taxes and will not consider raising them. The government has committed to decreasing taxes even more during this mandate. We are hence looking at a decrease in services for the province which makes me very nervous about what this means for the child care sector.

Child Care Advocacy
The current priority of the child care advocates/parents in my province:

  • PROVINCIAL Priorities:
    • Participating in and supporting the discussions on a long term plan for the child care sector
    • Supporting the Advisory Council on the Status of Women’s campaign to raise awareness about child care issues
  • FEDERAL Priorities:
    • upcoming Federal election
    • encouraging involvement and facilitating sessions of CCAAC’s consultations on the SOS discussion paper.

Province/Territory: Manitoba

Parent Rep: Donna Riddell

Government Child Care Policy
The ‘best news’ about government’s child care policy in my province:

  • The new Family Services Minister appears to be keeping the commitment to Manitoba’s five year vision for child care and advocates are working to ensure the Minister understands the child care issues. Parents and Boards appreciate the opportunities for training new staff and the options for existing staff in workplace training models or Competency Based programs.

The ‘worst news’ about government’s child care policy in my province:

  • Patience is a Virtue – some centres in the province have increased wages to the Manitoba Child Care Assn. recommended scale – without waiting for increases to operating grants in 2004. More funding is needed for the subsidy scale. Families facing affordability pressures are opting for cheaper child care that they can afford.
  • Regional Services – where pros and cons can be seen with this arrangement – I see services for children and families locally accessible but the Child Day Care structure may be weakening with this decentralization. In a budget comparison – the Government allocates over $80,000,000 dollars to Public School Board Finance for capital projects within Education. However, the whole of the Child Day Care budget is less than 70,000,000.
  • Of the $115 million funds going to Early Childhood programs in the province, less than 70 million goes to regulated child care.

Child Care Advocacy
The current priority of the child care advocates/parents in my province:

  • PROVINCIAL Priorities:
    • Parents are invited to lobby with advocates for child care funding in the provincial budget – to ensure adequate funding for pay scales.
    • There is an effort to educate other professionals about child care. Across the province ECE’s and parent boards are participating / involved with Healthy Child Coalitions. At each session – child care voices are getting louder – RHA’s and Education are learning what regulated child care is all about.
  • FEDERAL Priorities:
    • Parents participated in the CCAAC’s Memo to Martin. This event helped to get more parents interested and involved in trying to affect change. We are encouraging parents to participate in the CCAAC’s SOS consultations.
    • Our centre submitted a brief to the federal budget consultation and sent a copy to the local MP to get his attention to child care issues in the rural areas. He has said he is interested in visiting and touring rural child care programs.

Province/Territory: BC

Parent Rep: Sharon Gregson

Government Child Care Policy
The ‘best news’ about government’s child care policy in my province:

  • None for parents at all. The government has created an artificial distinction between child care and early childhood development. The province has also diverted funds from child care and misused federal dollars away from child care into other priorities.

The ‘worst news’ about government’s child care policy in my province:

  • Harder now to access information about spaces, harder to access information about government subsidy, harder to qualify for subsidy, child care spaces more expensive and fewer of them. Family supports are crumbling especially for poor women and their children.

Child Care Advocacy
The current priority of the child care advocates/parents in my province:

  • PROVINCIAL Priorities:
    • Highlighting the provincial misuse of federal funds and the diversion of significant money away from child care subsidy.
    • Speaking out and bringing attention to the child care issue – especially with upcoming provincial election in May 2005.
    • Working in collaboration with like-minded advocates, including labour and women’s groups, to strengthen our networks including the Coalition of Child Care Advocates Regional Activist Network.
  • FEDERAL Priorities:
    • Working in unison with Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, particularly around upcoming federal election and the SOS consultations/paper.

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