The fight for accessible, good quality childcare has been part of the Women’s Movement in Newfoundland and Labrador (and in Canada) for over thirty years. It was raised as an issue in the Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in 1970. Status of Women Councils and other women’s organizations tackled the issue, but change was slow. In 1980, it was still enough of a major concern that it became one of the priority issues established at the founding meeting of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women (PACSW).
In 1986, the PACSW reported to a federal Special Committee on Child Care that there were approximately 15,000 preschoolers in the province who required childcare, but less than 900 licensed day care spaces to meet the need. Other concerns mentioned were the need for after-school care programs, training for childcare workers, and increased parental leave that could be used by either parent (instead of by just the mother).
You know there is a real movement about… (it being) all about the child. I’m thinking if it was all about the child, then we’d have decent day-care and early childhood development. We’d actually have policies that gave people a choice about the childcare options they wanted instead of this twelve hundred dollars that is a taxable benefit that actually works out to, I don’t know, ten dollars a month, if that…
– Martha Muzychka on the continued need for better childcare options