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Kitchener, ON A growing number of economic experts say that substantial investment in child care in tough economic times makes good economic sense to support Ontarians to work, retrain and study.
David Macdonald, an economist who works with the Alternative Federal Budget Project at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Fred Hahn, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario), at a Kitchener media conference today, outlined why investment in soft’ infrastructure, like child care, is also good economic stimulus.
Kitchener/Waterloo residents can’t work and laid off workers can’t retrain without access to affordable child care because child care is as much an economic workforce issue as it is an issue for Kitchener/Waterloo families, they said.
Child care is an economic imperative for everyday families. They can’t afford to have the McGuinty government continue to withhold its $300 million child care investment promised in 2003 and still undelivered in 2009, said Hahn. Parents’ ability to work or look for work, raise a family and pay the bills is compromised by the government’s lack of affordable, not-for-profit child care expansion.
Federal economic stimulus dollars went almost exclusively into hard infrastructure, says Macdonald. But the McGuinty government should chart its own path and balance hard infrastructure stimulus with much needed soft infrastructure spending in areas like child care.
Macdonald’s and other researcher’s findings show that soft infrastructure has the same stimulative effect of producing approximately $1.80 in economic activity for every dollar of government spending but adds a much needed gender dimension. Women are much more likely to be employed in child care and working women gain the most benefit from accessible child care. Ontario needs to act as a counterweight to the purely hard infrastructure investment by the federal government, he said.
At the media conference, they called for the Dalton McGuinty government to ensure $600 million in new child care funding in the provincial budget to be released on March 26. $300 million is needed for operational cost of living increases and to ensure that 22,000 child care subsidiesnow threatened when federal funds expire for the Best Start programare maintained. The other $300 million must go to new capital spending to create 5,000 new classrooms for new all-day learning and care programs.
For more information, please contact:
David Macdonald (613) 725-7606
Economist with the Alternative Federal Budget Project at the CCPA
Fred Hahn (416) 540-3979
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Secretary-Treasurer