In the News May 12
Ontario Election 2022
South Asian Women Affirm the Right to Universal Child Care
The South Asian Women’s Immigrant Services (SAWIS) was founded by immigrant women from Bangladesh in 2008 to advocate for the rights of immigrant, national minority and marginalized women. They work hard to affirm their right to quality childcare and social programs such as job training, education and a livelihood, so that all women and their families can have stable lives and live with dignity and security and fully play their roles in society.
Women that SAWIS serves are part of the “cheap labour pool” needed by private industry. Quite a few of them have post-secondary qualifications but are pushed into low-paying jobs where they have little protection as workers.
On April 22, SAWIS issued a press release in response to the childcare agreement of the federal and Ontario government announced at the end of March. Ontario and the federal government signed a $13.2 billion agreement which aims to lower the cost of childcare in the province to an average of $10 per day by September 2025. It is one of the Ford Conservatives’ many pre-election announcements which does not provide immediate relief of the childcare problem in Ontario which is what is needed, SAWIS says.
Daycare costs in Ontario currently are among the highest in Canada with a full-time spot for a toddler in Toronto costing about $70 a day or $1,600 per month. For an infant it is even higher than that, and for pre-school children it averages $60 per day.
SAWIS notes furthermore that the joint announcement by Trudeau and Ford “does not take into account the realities of low and unstable income. Many low-income families working in the precarious sector will be unable to pay up front for childcare on a monthly basis, which thereby excludes them from the tax rebate.”
In a survey conducted with its members, SAWIS heard that the Ford Conservative government’s decision in 2018 to relax regulations for home-based daycare settings has caused and is causing ongoing challenges to ensure the health of the providers and children during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the women asked what good is $10 child care if there is a proliferation of home-based, poorly or non-regulated child care facilities where the quality of care is compromised?
The women also noted that childcare workers are greatly exploited and abused by private childcare facilities which recruit and place workers from temp agencies, exploiting their labour and providing little if any benefits. SAWIS calls this the “uberization” of childcare services, which largely affects immigrant and national minority women and adds to stress and instability at the workplace and at home.
The SAWIS press release calls on everyone to join them to fight “for a national and universal childcare/early learning system that is inclusive of all women,” that is public and respects childcare workers and their rights to proper wages and working conditions.
Ontario Political Forum, posted May 12, 2022.