Media release: BC parties’ daycare promises ignore majority of families, miss opportunity to earn votes

KIDS FIRST PARENT ASSOCIATION OF CANADA www.kidsfirstcanada.org info@kidsfirstcanada.org

Media release: BC parties’ daycare promises ignore majority of families, miss opportunity to earn votes

Burnaby, BC – October 15, 2020 – BC’s political parties have missed the opportunity to earn votes by ignoring the large majority of BC families who do not prefer licensed daycare says a national charity advocating for parents’ and children’s rights. Only the Green Party even acknowledged the existence of parental child care, offering $500/month, much less than promised daycare subsidies.

All parties are promising billions in support of the small minority that prefers licensed daycare. These policies discriminate against the majority of families who prefer other forms of early learning and child care, says Kids First Parent Association of Canada, a non-partisan, non-sectarian, parent-run charity supporting children’s well-being and parental child care. The group defines child care as the care of a child regardless of who does it or where. The organisation advocates for all early learning and child care funding to go to families directly and equitably. It calls for an end to preferential treatment of any form of child care because such policies are discriminatory, sexist, harmful, and not evidence-based.

Moreover, During COVID, many families fear the high level of infection that is unavoidable in daycare settings.

“All children need child care 24/7/365.  Politicians denigrate the parent-child relationship when they imply that parental child care is not productive work, and then use financial carrots and sticks to coerce parents into spending more time at jobs and less time with their children. The stated goal of massive subsidies favouring daycare is to coerce parents – especially single mothers – into artificially increasing the labour supply. This is sexist and discriminates against children. Why do politicians ignore children’s well-being and women’s diverse priorities, family circumstances, and schedules?” states Helen Ward, Kids First President and a single low-income mother.

Although daycare proponents publish many reports to support their demands, the peer- reviewed and statistical evidence does not support preferential treatment of licensed daycare. Examples:

* LOW ENROLLMENT: Statistics Canada: 2019 data shows that 42.4% of BC children under 6 have no non-parental child care. 2017 data show that 34.2% of children under 6 Canada-wide are parental child care only, with another 39.6% in unlicensed care forms such as grandparents and nannies; 26.3% are in either daycare or preschool.  

* HIGH VACANCIES: 29% of licensed spaces in BC are vacant (71% in use rate) according to Ministry of Children and Family Development 2017 data on “spare capacity in licensed child care”.

* HARM TO CHILDREN’S OUTCOMES: Leading Canadian economist Dr. Kevin Milligan of UBC co-authored peer-reviewed research on Quebec’s daycare system finding that, “The consistency of the results suggests that more access to childcare is bad for these children.” Data showed the system led to increased child illness, worse parent-child relationships, and behavioural problems. A follow-up 2019 paper found increased youth crime in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada.

* LOW QUALITY: The quality of licensed daycare in Canada and Quebec and Sweden has been assessed to be minimal to mediocre, inadequate for children’s development, largely due to inadequate staff:child ratios.
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contact: Helen Ward – 604-291-0088, info@kidsfirstcanada.org

Photo Credit:
CC BY 2.0
Sonia Furstenau
BC NDP – BCNDP-052917-0813
Andrew Wilkinson
University of the Fraser Valley – Flickr
CC BY 2.0
John Horgan
BC NDP – Cropped from Flickr
CC BY 2.0
(edited together by S. Leuba)