Winnipeg – November 22, 2014 – UFCW Canada activists recently joined hundreds of other community at Childcare 2020 — the fourth-ever national child care policy conference ever held in Canada, and the first in a decade. The conference, held in Winnipeg, was organized by the Canadian Child Care Federation, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, and the Childcare Resource and Research Unit. UFCW Canada was proud to add its voice to the large coalition of educators, academic experts, researchers, decision-makers, union activist, parents and members of Aboriginal communities from across Canada.
The conference drew over 600 participants, all committed to the call for a national child care program funded by governments at all levels.
The objective of the conference was to provide a venue for networking, dialogue, and exchanging views on topics, challenges and specific solutions to lead to a Canada-wide, universal child care system which is inclusive and affordable.
Many well-known speakers described their thoughts and visions for making child care services a priority for governments and all Canadians. The presentations also provided a comprehensive overview of the current status of child care options and obstacles in Canada.
One of the keynote presenters was Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party, and official leader of the opposition. Brother Mulcair described the NDP’s election platform on this crucial issue for Canadian families. Participants warmly welcomed his promise that an NDP government would invest $5 billion a year to create 370,000 new affordable child care places, with costs capped at $15 a day.
Another highlight of the conference was a presentation by Stephen Lewis, former Ontario NDP leader and Canadian ambassador to the United Nations. "The fight for gender equality is the most important one in the world. But you can't have gender equality without universal child care," said Lewis, one of Canada’s most respected commentators on social justice issues, international development, and human rights.
Quebec economist Pierre Fortin also delivered a convincing argument on the merits of universal child care, arguing that every dollar invested by the Quebec government in child care generates a return of $1.75 to the economy, through higher income tax revenues from the more than 70,000 women who have been able to enter the labour market since Quebec introduced affordable child care.