Pandemic straining Canada's child care sector: CCPA report

"The only way to stabilize this situation and prevent loss of child care spaces in the future — which women will need to re-enter the post-pandemic workforce — is through sustained, substantial public operational funding. We're sounding the alarm: the federal government must prioritize funding and full transformation of child care now, before it's too late." — Martha Friendly, report co-author

Ottawa (18 March 2021) — A new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) demonstrates the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on the child care system in Canada.

The report, Sounding the Alarm: COVID-19's impact on Canada's precarious child care sector, finds that there has been a significant drop in enrolment in full-time licensed child care while parent fees remain high. The report illustrates the importance of public funding in child care.

Fees remain unaffordable

The report shows that child care fees continue to be unaffordable in many cities outside of Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and P.E.I. The drop in enrolment during the pandemic has been larger in cities with high parent fees.

"Child care centres offering lower fees because provincial governments fund them are holding
their own during the pandemic, as we see in the set fee system in Quebec," said CCPA senior economist and report co-author, David Macdonald. "Our survey shows that cities with higher fees saw bigger drops in enrolment. It’s clear that relying on exorbitant parent fees to fund services that should be part of the social infrastructure is what got us into this mess in the first place. Canada’s economic recovery is at risk without more, and different, support.”

Public funding is a must

The report underscores the need for investment in the child care sector.

"The only way to stabilize this situation and prevent loss of child care spaces in the future — which women will need to re-enter the post-pandemic workforce — is through sustained, substantial public operational funding," said report co-author Martha Friendly. "We're sounding the alarm: the federal government must prioritize funding and full transformation of child care now, before it's too late."

We need a national system

NUPGE and its Components have been pressing the federal government to implement a national child care system that is universally accessible, publicly funded, not-for-profit, and high quality, and that fairly compensates and meaningfully supports its workforce.

The CCPA report is the latest in a long line of evidence demonstrating the need for such a system, with the pandemic and its impacts a cause for urgency.

Read the full report at https://www.policyalternatives.ca/TheAlarm. 


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE