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October 13, 2011

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CUPE endorses early care and learning plan

BURNABY—CUPE hopes to help shape B.C.’s future by endorsing a plan designed to help improve early care and learning in B.C.

CUPE recently endorsed the “Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning”.  The plan is a road map toward a comprehensive public early learning and care system in British Columbia and was created by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC (CCCABC) and the Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC). 

The plan has already been endorsed by a wide variety of unions, education partners and civic governments including Metro Vancouver.

Programs such as all day kindergarten and StrongStart BC have shown that there is an increased demand for support for early learners. Across Canada and here in B.C. education funding and policy is moving toward early learners. CUPE hopes to be part of bringing public early care learning to B.C.

“Public early care and learning is something we have been working towards for quite a while,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. “This plan is an exciting step forward for families all over B.C. who deserve this type of public program.”

One of the major changes in the plan is that control of child care would move from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to the Ministry of Education.

This shift would enable CUPE to have a say in child care decision making and there is also potential for additional work hours, earnings and new positions for CUPE members.

B.C. families and CUPE members alike face the same challenge in finding quality, affordable child care. Currently, only about 20 per cent of Canadian families with children six and under have access to regulated early care and learning.

Child care fees are second only to housing costs for families. This means families are forced to spend a large portion of their income on unregulated and non-unionized child care. This plan is a clear path to improved access to quality, affordable, unionized child care.

“This plan will drastically improve early care and education in B.C.” said Michael Lanier, chair of the CUPE BC child care working group and president of CUPE local 1936. “If this plan is realized a public child care system will exist that all children in B.C., including those with special needs, will have access to. CUPE is endorsing this plan to support families all over B.C.”

This plan comes at an important time as the corporate community begins to move in to B.C. to set up corporate “big box” child care.  This plan provides a clear and public alternative to private and corporate child care.


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