Release: Canadian child care system under the international microscope

VANCOUVER – Today, West Coast LEAF and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC (CCCABC) are at the United Nations in Geneva to participate in a review of Canada’s federal and provincial progress under the international bill of women’s rights. West Coast LEAF and CCABC are meeting with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to highlight Canada’s lack of progress with respect to child care and the devastating impacts on women’s equality.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international human rights treaty that has been ratified by Canada. A number of Canadian non-governmental organizations will be attending Canada’s review under CEDAW to provide submissions on Canada’s federal and provincial progress to support women’s equality in a number of areas, including child care.

“Canada’s last review under the Convention occurred in 2008, and at that time, the UN Committee expressed concern about access to child care in the context of women’s rights. The Committee urged Canada to step up its efforts to provide a sufficient number of affordable childcare spaces,” notes Sharon Gregson of the CCCABC, one of the authors of the $10aDay Child Care Plan. “Unfortunately, since 2008 we have seen very little progress in Canada, and even less in BC. Nationally, only one out of four children under 12 has access to a high quality child care space and less than one in five BC kids have such access. The spaces that do exist are prohibitively expensive.”

“We know that child care has complex and wide-ranging impacts on the human rights of women, and particularly marginalized women,” says Kasari Govender, Executive Director of West Coast LEAF. “Because women still provide most of the primary care for children, when they cannot access child care, their employment, health, safety, independence, and ability to parent is put at risk. We expect that the UN Committee will ask Canada about how it intends to meet its international human rights obligations to provide access to high quality, affordable child care. Canada needs to know that women and families back home are also looking for answers.”

Canada’s review occurred today, Tuesday, October 25, 2016 in Geneva and, in the coming weeks, the CEDAW Committee will issue concluding observations about Canada’s progress with respect to women’s rights.

Read the full submission of West Coast LEAF and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC.