by Carrie Schoemer
On Saturday, January 28, TEECC held our first public meeting. It was an incredible success with over 50 people in attendance on a snowy winter morning.
Carolyn Ferns from the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care set the context for the meeting by describing the current situation we face in finding adequate care for the children in our community. Next, our guests spoke together in a round-table format, sharing their personal stories, their concerns, and their ideas for improvement in child care.
We heard from parents who have struggled to find child care: for their infants, toddlers, and school-aged children. Parents told us about how little they earned by working, since so much of their salaries went to child care. They told us about their anxieties around wait lists and their concerns that the government is not planning to accommodate a baby boom in our community.
Next, we heard from five elected politicians in our neighbourhood who are all passionate about child care: Trustee Jennifer Story, Councillors Paula Fletcher and Janet Davis, MPP Peter Tabuns, and MP Julie Dabrusin. They told us how the child care situation has been a challenge for many, many years and that we must make change now. There is hope: the possibility has re-emerged of a National Child Care Strategy from the federal government, and the provincial government recently held consultations to expand licensed care by 100,000 spaces.
Our group also engaged in many actions to fight proposed municipal funding cuts to child care in schools. We must act now to ensure that child care is a priority for all levels of government.
Media coverage of our event can be found here:
Thank you to all the people who came out to our meeting. We were so thrilled to meet in person and to plant the seeds of our movement.