It's time for child care for all - Des services de garde éducatifs pour tous

The Draft 2021 Ottawa Budget is now before us – and our city deserves better.

CCN Ottawa joined 18 other community organizations – the Ottawa Coalition for a People’s Budget – to put forward an Alternative Municipal Budget (AMB). This is a visionary document, developed through a very thorough and rich engagement with diverse communities in Ottawa, and costed carefully to put forward real alternatives for our city.

The AMB assumes our priorities are realigned, particularly given the massive upheavals worldwide this year for racial and economic justice – it wonders what would be possible if Ottawa reallocated 63% of its police budget, divested from fossil fuels, and implemented transformative and innovative changes in our common social infrastructure.

That said, we know the city is under unprecedented financial pressure given the COVID-19 pandemic – with that in mind, we have focused our asks around child care to Council.

The proposed draft budget – and the police budget in particular – are completely unacceptable.

The City voted unanimously in December 2019 to make investing in child care a Term of Council priority, given that we are a city that can currently only provide a licensed child care space to 1 in 3 children.

CCN Ottawa intends to hold Council to that commitment, with the following priorities:

BUILDING CHILD CARE CAPACITY IN OTTAWA

Beyond being stuck in an affordability crisis which substantially limits access, Ottawa desperately needs more child care spaces – we must renew the city’s child care leadership role, and invest in child care expansion.

These are the following pillars to build child care capacity in Ottawa over the coming year:

  1. Invest in new municipally-run child care centres
  2. Become a license holder for home-based child care, and meet the needs of families in the COVID-19 context.
  3. Support the creation of new spaces in community based, not-for-profit child care programs by creating a Capital Fund.

We estimate that these three initiatives, taken together as we propose, could create 1662 new child care spaces

RACE-BASED DATA COLLECTION FOR CHILD CARE EQUITY

As the world reels from struggles for racial justice, developing tools to detect and analyze the impacts of systemic racism in our child care system is more urgent than ever. Sensitive data will help us make sensible investments in our social infrastructure

We are proposing a pilot program to develop race-based data collection and analysis tools that can identify current and future impacts of race and racism across the child care sector in Ottawa, and offer Ottawa’s policy makers, elected officials, and residents better information with which to design future child care policy. This would be an innovative, first-of-its kind program for Ontario as a whole, building off of models developed in the public education system.

This could be achieved either as:

  1. A stand-alone program with devoted staff
  2. A new initiative integrated into existing programming, such as the Anti-Racism Secretariat – but with proper resourcing

To see our full proposal – and the costing behind it – please download it using the link below

Make your voice heard at City Hall – sign up to depute on child care issues with Child Care Now in Budget 2021 here

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