When Vicky Smallman found out she was expecting her second child, she put her baby-to-be on Ottawa’s lengthy waiting list for public childcare.
“Before she had a name, she was on a list,” the Ottawa resident said Thursday.
Now five months old, Smallman’s daughter, Audrey, and her son Gordon, three, still have yet to score childcare spaces. Although Smallman would prefer to put her children into a licensed daycare, the family is one of the luckier ones, as Smallman worked with other parents she knew to organize a co-operative daycare.
Members of a local union are asking the city and the province to work together to keep Ottawa’s much-needed childcare spaces from disappearing.
“We’re asking the city of Ottawa to maintain all childcare spaces, said David Robbins, education officer with CUPE Local 2204.
“It’s good for the kids, good for families and good for the economy,” he said.
In Ottawa, there are between 5,000 and 6,000 children waiting for childcare spaces.
“I’m really hoping the city will not be so short-sighted as to compromise the spaces we do have,” Smallman said. “We want more, not less. The city can’t balance its budget at the expense of the most vulnerable.”
Investing in soft infrastructure such as childcare has the same economic impact as investing in hard infrastructure, said economist David Macdonald.