The Early Years Study 3 said there was an "avalanche of evidence" that shows just how far quality, play-based childcare goes to set children on a good path in life.
This report is the third installment in a series of research papers by the late Dr. Fraser Mustard, Margaret Norrie McCain and Kerry McCuiag, which set the groundwork for all-day kindergarten in Ontario.
In an exclusive interview with the Star, Mustard, who passed away last week, made the point that the risk for physical and mental health problems is set in early childhood.
It's important to note that - just like kindergarten in Ontario - this kind of program would be optional.
Predictably, there are those who suggest providing quality childcare for all kids is a "nanny state" move that rips babies away from their mothers' bossums.
But that's just inaccurate and irrational.
The fact is that there are nowhere near enough licensed childcare spaces in Ontario and children suffer as a result. Parents who don't nab coveted quality daycare spots for their children are forced to put their kids in suboptimal care instead. Either that or miss out on employment opportunities and the chance to better themselves that participation in the work force provides.
What a program like this would do is level the playing field between the lucky minority in good childcare and the rest of children. Let's not forget that in the GTA, 51 percent of households have income at least 20 per cent below average, putting them deeply below the poverty line. Universal childcare wouldn't be causing a problem; it would help to solve one that's been unaddressed for too long.
A universal childcare program in Quebec that costs parents just $7 a day has been wildly successful in addressing just the kind of space shortages that plague Ontario families. And as a result, Quebec now boasts higher employment among women who wish to work outside of the home. In June an economist released a report that proves the program now pays for itself.
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