Canada fails to meet nine of out 10 proposed standards aimed at ensuring children get the best start in life through education and support programs, putting the country in a tie for last place among affluent nations, an analysis released Wednesday by UNICEF concludes.Quote has been trimmed
The UNICEF benchmarks are crucial for children in their formative years, the United Nations organization says.
"We over-invest in remedial action down the line when kids reach their teen years and under-invest in the early years when their behaviour, their comportment, their learning can really be set for the rest of their lives," said Nigel Fisher, head of UNICEF Canada.
The benchmarks, which UNICEF calls practical and reachable, include providing a year of parental leave at 50 per cent or more of salary and spending one per cent of gross domestic product on childhood services.
Sweden was the only country to meet all 10 standards out of the 24 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Iceland met nine; Slovenia, which scored six out of 10, was the only non-OECD country assessed.