Essex Council Backs Daycare At Political Conferences

Harrow-area councillor Sherry Bondy wants to see it become easier for parents with young children to take a stab at politics.

The Ward 4 councillor in Essex is looking for on-site, pay-for-use daycare services to be made available at major municipal conferences like the ones held by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

"Women and men with young children should have the same opportunities as everyone else and I will say, first-hand, we don't," says Bondy in addressing her motion to the rest of council. "I'll pay, I'm not asking for a free ride."

Essex council unanimously backed Bondy's motion that will see letters sent off to both AMO and FCM pushing for the change as well as letters looking for support from other municipalities.

On Wednesday, Bondy gave birth to her fifth child — her second in her seven years on council — and says being a mother to young children creates significant challenges in her role as a councillor.


Town of Essex Councillor Sherry Bondy pictured with her newborn, Gwendolyn Rose, at the regular meeting of council on March 5, 2018. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

She knows the challenges first-hand and has heard other parents with young children express interest in running for a political seat, but are too worried about the barriers.

"Going out of town and finding daycare is really challenging, so you either have to bring along your partner who has to take time off work, but I really want to be an independent woman," says Bondy. "The federal budget is talking about equal opportunities for women  — now it's time to look at the province and look at the [federal government] and say, 'Okay, let's put our money where our mouth is and let's really make these opportunities available to everybody."

Bondy feels ensuring daycare is available at political conventions would lead to more young people getting involved.

"I think the timing is right and we need to really push for this right now too because in October we're having an election and I want the doors open for everybody thinking about running and there is an obstacle to young people who have young families running and one of them is daycare," says Bondy.

Bondy was back at council to see her motion over the finish line just five days after giving birth to daughter Gwendolyn Rose.

Both mommy and baby are healthy with Bondy thanking the staff at Erie Shores Healthcare for a wonderful birthing experience.