Baby child and father holding hands

Why Child Care?

We know what a Canada-wide Universal Child Care can do for children, for women and for our economy.

Universal Child Care can guarantee the best developmental outcomes for children, and higher pay for educators will result in higher quality early learning and child care.

Universal Child Care can have a strong positive impact on women’s economic security by increasing their ability to get a job, to pursue education and skills training, or to increase their work hours and advance their career. It can also contribute to mitigating the intergenerational effect of the gender pay gap which is a systemic cause of poverty in senior women.

Universal Child Care can have a significant impact on Canada's economic growth. In fact, the IMF recognized that "if the current gap of 7 percentage points between male and female labour force participation with high educational attainment were eliminated, the level of real GDP could be about 4 percent higher today."

Child Care Situation in Canada:

For many Canadian families, not only are child care fees unaffordable, child care spaces are inaccessible or unavailable.

According to the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, 44% of Canadian families live in child care deserts, with less than one licensed child care space for every three children. In addition, there are large discrepancies in services and fees from one province to another, not to mention low wages for educators in this sector.

Inadequate funding and federal policy framework:

Both funding and the policy framework around child care are inadequate.

Budget 2017 designated federal spending of 7.5 billion dollars over 11 fiscal years starting in 2017, with an average spending of 540 000 million dollars in each of the first five years. At just 0.3% of the GDP, Canada's current annual spending on child care falls significantly short of UNICEF’s international benchmark spending of 1% of a country's GDP.

The parameters presented in the ongoing three-year bilateral agreements established by the Multilateral Framework are too broad. Federal transfers must be conditional to evidenced-based practices and provincial/territorial plans, timetables and measurable targets that focus on accessibility, affordability, high quality and inclusivity.