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TORONTO, ON – A baby elf, her mom and other moms and tots brought season’s greetings and their Christmas wish list for better child care to the Premier’s Queen’s Park door today. Singing a re-vamped child care version of the traditional carol The 12 Days of Christmas the moms and tots asked the Premier to leave a worthy legacy, a real plan for publicly-funded, not-for-profit system of early childhood education and care.
The Premier often says that “there’s never a wrong time to do the right thing”. As some municipalities, including Toronto are threatening to sell or close publicly-operated centres and the transition to full-day kindergarten has affected the viability of community-based, not-for-profit child care for infants and toddlers, the carolling moms said “this is the right time to invest in the future of children and families, by investing in a legacy of not-for-profit and public child care.” Our neighbours in Quebec did just that when that provincial government created what is now a $7 a-day child care program.
For starters the moms called for an emergency fund of $200million to stop the collapse of child care across Ontario and the expansion of for-profit and ‘Big Box’ child care. Yesterday, Edleun one of the largest for-profit chains announced its initial entry to Ontario with the acquisition of seven centres. Four are in the Greater Toronto Area and three are in Windsor where nine municipal not-for-profit centres were closed by the city last year.
Between December 13 and Christmas Day, December 25, the Premier and all Ontario MPPs will receive a daily 12 Days of Child Care Christmas email verse ending on the twelfth day with the following:
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
The Premier’s leg- a-cy*,
Uni – ver- sal child care,
Kids are not for profit,
Child care for toddlers,
Real plan for child care,
Keep our pub-lic centres,
New way of fund-ing,
Two hund— red – mill—yan,
No-o wait- ing lists,
No-o centres closed,
And a prom -iss of bet- ter – child care.
A worthy legacy for the Education Premier would be a real plan for a publicly-funded public/non-profit system of early childhood education and care for all.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. Best wishes for the holiday season.
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communication (416)559-9300