Ottawa parents and early childhood educators calling on City Council to request supports in face of COVID-19 pressures
The pandemic has hit Ottawa’s already meagre child care system hard, disproportionately affecting women as Ontario slowly re-opens, child care advocacy group says
Child Care Now (Ottawa), a new local organization of parents, early childhood educators and other child care advocates, is urging Ottawa’s City Council to join the City of Toronto in calling on the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada to take immediate steps to make child care accessible to all Ottawa families.
City councillors will be voting tomorrow on Bay Ward councillor Theresa Kavanagh’s resolution (seconded by River Ward councillor Riley Brockington) that requests the Government of Ontario develop a comprehensive plan to respond to the child care needs of families in time for the fall, and to provide adequate provincial funding for licensed child care and EarlyOn programs so that they can re-open safely without raising parent fees. CCN Ottawa hopes Ottawa and other Ontario cities will make similar requests as child care programs reopen across the province.
“Child care is essential in allowing women full participation in the workforce,” said Kavanagh. “COVID-19 has been a major setback for many who lost employment or faced double duty at home. With the economic recovery we need safe affordable child care to bring equity into the overall return to work.”
“In communities right across Ontario child care is essential to economic and social recovery.” said Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton, who brought a similar motion to Toronto City Council last month. “We need all levels of government to work together to create a national child care system that is truly affordable and accessible to all.”
“Ottawa has never had enough licensed child care and it always been incredibly expensive but the pandemic has made things a whole lot worse,” said Amanda Quance, parent and member of CCN Ottawa.
“COVID-19 closed child care programs for all but some essential workers and it is going to take a while before they get back running at full capacity, with new and important health measures like screening at the door, cleaning, and smaller groups. Not having a child care space puts parents—especially mothers—at risk of having to quit paid work to stay home with their children,” Quance explained.
“The Ottawa economy won’t get restarted if we don’t have more affordable child care, and children deserve it too, so we hope to see our City Council put some pressure on the higher levels of government to step up to give immediate help and to start working together to build a national child care system in the longer term,” said Quance.
For interviews or comment, please contact:
Amanda Quance, Child Care Now (Ottawa): (613) 581-3075 or firstname.lastname@example.org