Child Care Now is calling for increased federal spending on the early childhood education workforce, and for much bigger federal investments in the construction of more not-for-profit and public early learning and child care facilities.
In a recent submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, Child Care Now has recommended that the 2024 federal budget provide for:
(1)$10 billion over the next three years to cover the capital costs associated with increasing the availability of licensed not-for-profit and public early learning and child care programs.
(2) An additional $7 billion over three years in federal transfer payment to the provinces, territories and Indigenous governments to support full implementation of competitive and equitable wage grids for early childhood educators and other staff in each jurisdiction, along with improved benefits and working conditions.
“Demand for child care has risen significantly as a result of the federally-funded parent fee reductions,” says Morna Ballantyne, Child Care Now Executive Director. “Governments must now move in a concerted way to meet increased demand with more public and not-for-profit service supply, but that can’t happen without more qualified early childhood educators and more facilities.”
It is universally recognized that retaining and recruiting qualified early childhood educators to work in community-based child care programs requires a significant increase in salaries and much better working conditions. Child Care Now estimates a federal contribution of $7 billion over the next three years is essential to bring compensation to an acceptable level especially if such a contribution is leveraged to increase provincial and territorial workforce investments.
Child Care Now’s budget request for a $10 billion federal Early Learning and Infrastructure Fund (to bolster the current allocation of $625 million) is based on the costs of implementing the federal government’s stated goal of adding 250,000 early learning and child care spaces by April 1, 2026.
In putting forward these recommendations for additional federal funding for early learning and child care, Child Care Now further calls on all governments to ensure that First Nations, Métis and Inuit rights and jurisdiction are respected throughout the child care system-building transformation, as detailed in both the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Frameworks and the Canada-Wide Agreements on Early Learning and Child Care.
Child Care Now congratulates the federal Liberal government for setting out in its 2021 budget a plan to reduce parent fees for regulated child care in Canada to an average of $10 a day, and to increase the supply of not-for-profit and public child care by 250,000 spaces by March 31, 2026. There remain many more steps to create systemic change within early learning and child care.
Read the full submission here