Good morning. I have to say, this is the closest I've come to speed dating in quite some time.
I also have to comment on how bizarre it feels to come here this morning and present to an all-male panel of members of Parliament. Frankly, as a woman in Canada, I am fairly upset with that state of affairs, and I shall be letting the Prime Minister know.
I am here representing the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of British Columbia. You probably know that the federal government is signing multilateral and bilateral agreements on child care with the provinces. B.C.'s share over the next three years is $50 million a year. While it is very good to see the federal government step up and recognize its role in child care in this country after 16 years of not being present in those conversations, the amount that's being dedicated at the moment is woefully low and only perpetuates the current framework, which is a patchwork, rather than making the full change that families need.
The quick recommendations for you to consider are to ensure that you recommend $1.2 billion in 2018 for early learning and child care, with annual increases; that the funding be to build a system, not for individual vouchers to families, which don't build a system; that the investment be in the not-for-profit and public spheres, because, after all, kids are not for profit and child care in the market has been a failure; that there be investment in the ECE workforce; and that there be meaningful consultation with advocates.
In British Columbia, we have something called the $10aDay child care plan, a plan ready to be implemented, and we need the federal government to step up so that our province can move forward to implement that plan.
I ask you to consider the role of early childhood education and early learning for the future of Canada.