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Ottawa MP Dewar touts NDP's $3.3B childcare program at Glebe day care

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Butler, Don
Publication Date: 
21 Apr 2011



Ottawa needs more facilities like the Glebe Parents' Day Care to serve the 9,000 city families currently on waiting lists for licensed child care, Ottawa Centre New Democrat Paul Dewar said Thursday. And, he said, the NDP has a plan to provide them.

Following a campaign stop at the spacious and well-appointed centre on Fifth Avenue, Dewar said his party is promising to spend $3.3 billion over the next four years to create 100,000 new public, non-profit child care spaces across Canada.

Barely one in five families now get child care in a regulated, licensed centre, he said. Outside of Quebec, which offers child care for a nominal fee of $7 a day, parents pay an average of $6,900 annually for child care, Dewar said.

"Child care is our society's signal that we really value children. It's important during an election to be talking about child care here in our community, because there are many people who are without child care."

The NDP would provide subsidies, based on income, to help parents access the new spaces. While Quebec's approach is the model, Dewar said, "we haven't declared that we'd have a cost like that. But we also have said it's a best practice we should look at."

He said the Glebe Parents Day Care, a non-profit cooperative with an enrollment of more than 300 and run by parents and staff, illustrates what is possible.

"These are the kinds of facilities we need to see right across the country."

But Richard Girard, who chairs the day care's board, warned its model of child care "is really under threat now with shifting budget constraints in the municipalities."

Public subsidies are now linked to a child, meaning the Glebe centre loses a subsidized space if that child leaves. "Then we have to fill the spot with a full-fee-paying parent," Girard said. "It's much less accessible because our fees are quite high, because this is a quality child care centre."

Fees at the Glebe centre range from $404 a month for its school-age program to $1,742 a month for its infant and toddler program. About 40 per cent of users now receive public subsidies.

-reprinted from the Ottawa Citizen

Entered Date: 
27 Apr 2011
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