Release: New report finds that inadequate child care violates the rights of BC women and children

Vancouver – On July 12, 2016 West Coast LEAF will release a new report entitled High Stakes: The impacts of child care on the human rights of women and children. The report concludes that the rights of women and children are being violated in complex and wide-ranging ways as a result of the shortage of affordable, high-quality, regulated child care in BC.

“Child care is often framed as an economic issue or in terms of public policy, but it’s important to recognize that the failures of the current services in BC have serious and vast implications for the human rights of women and children,” noted Kendra Milne, West Coast LEAF Director of Law Reform and author of the report. “Because women provide the majority of caregiving for children, not being able to access high-quality, affordable child care leads to a cascade of negative consequences in women’s lives.”

The report is based on the first-hand experiences of a diverse group of 15 women, shared in the form of affidavits, about how the inadequacy of the child care system has impacted them and the children they care for. The report analyzes the legal implications of these harms and finds that many of them constitute violations of the human rights of women and children under international and Canadian law.

“The lack of affordable, high-quality child care in BC undermines women’s economic security, leaving them financially dependent and less able to escape violence,” said Milne. “It jeopardizes the physical and mental health of women and children. It threatens to separate families, both by making it harder for mothers to obtain legal immigration status in Canada and by increasing the risk of apprehensions through the child protection system. When it comes to child care, the stakes are high.”

The report also provides concrete policy recommendations that the BC government can implement to ensure adequate child care is available for all families who need it. The primary recommendation is that BC immediately adopt and begin implementing the $10aDay Plan in order to fulfill its obligations to protect the human rights of women and children.  The report also recommends that BC take urgent steps to remedy the most serious harms caused by the current state of child care services by replacing the inadequate subsidy system with a new funding stream that would make free, high-quality child care immediately available to the families with the greatest need.

The report will be distributed to provincial and federal law makers.