Advocacy: Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Childcare

After 50 years of stops and starts, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to implement a long-term, stable Canada-wide program, replacing the current uneven and expensive patchwork system. The current system leaves many children behind, particularly low-income and racialized families, and holds back economic growth by entrenching women’s economic inequality. Canada’s renewed commitment to early childhood education promises a fair start for the future well-being of our children, intersectional gender equity and economic health and growth.

Beginning in 2020, The Prosperity Project called for the introduction of a Canada-wide early learning and childcare (ELCC) system to address the needs of working families. To find out more as well as to view the pre-budget April 2021 open letter, please see our news release.

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Advocacy: Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Childcare

After 50 years of stops and starts, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to implement a long-term, stable Canada-wide program, replacing the current uneven and expensive patchwork system. The current system leaves many children behind, particularly low-income and racialized families, and holds back economic growth by entrenching women’s economic inequality. Canada’s renewed commitment to early childhood education promises a fair start for the future well-being of our children, intersectional gender equity and economic health and growth.

Beginning in 2020, The Prosperity Project called for the introduction of a Canada-wide early learning and childcare (ELCC) system to address the needs of working families. To find out more as well as to view the pre-budget April 2021 open letter, please see our news release.

Read More

Why is it so important now?

COVID-19 has revealed the tremendous gaps in our early learning and childcare system. Women’s paid and unpaid work have sustained the country through the pandemic at the price of their hard-earned labour force advancements and the economic benefits these bring. We cannot let women’s progress slide back. Building a Canada-wide childcare system is key.

Is this solely a woman's issue?

No. The care and nurturing of our children belongs to all families, and all Canadians have a vested interest in excellent outcomes for the kids. No matter the generation or gender, investments in system building will yield benefits: in the short term economic growth owing to employment in the childcare sector or in building trades to retrofit centres; in the medium term increased labour force participation for mothers (and thus higher tax revenues and lower family poverty); and in the long term with greater learning readiness, a more educated workforce, and strong, resilient generations able to support Canada’s ageing population. In addition, work/family balance requires supporting and sharing responsibilities for caregiving.

Will this be a mandatory program?

No.

Will this be some sort of cookie cutter program imposed on provinces and territories?

No. Bilateral arrangements with each province will be unique to them. We strongly support shared guiding principles (i.e., high quality, accessibility, affordability and flexibility) and a commitment to stable funding to ensure the training, recruitment and retention of well-paid and professional staff – 95% of whom are women.

Why not just give money to parents?

Parents cannot buy what does not exist, and there are spaces for only about 27% of children. Infrastructure must be built, and staff need to be hired and trained. Childcare infrastructure is as important as our bridges and highways.

Why the emphasis on affordability? Shouldn’t those that earn more, pay more?

When we are invested in the quality and success of shared social programs, we deepen our shared commitment to excellence for all – and nowhere is this more important than for our kids. Canada is built on diversity. If we develop centres for those with money and those without, we will create stigmas and stereotypes. Our kids must learn from each other without any biases. Like our schools – and 91% of kids in Canada attend public schools – early learning and childcare should be available to every child as a public good.

What can you do?

Speak up. We are asking for a Call to Action now. The creation of a Canada-wide program will take several years to implement properly, but initial momentum and mobilization are important. We need to make sure provincial/territorial politicians know how much this means. Write your Premier and/or write your elected official in your province.

We have attached a sample letter. You can also call your elected representative and ask to speak to them.

Thank you!

We do not have to re-invent the wheel. A multilateral framework already exists. But we do want to feel certain that any future wheel turns equitably and efficiently. Our prosperity depends on it.


Resources

Atkinson Centre

First Policy Response – Ryerson University

Other Websites / Resources