Dear Minister Sudds and Minister Freeland,
In a cost of living crisis, hundreds of thousands of Canadian families can’t find a licensed child care space when they need it. Parents are forced to make difficult choices, such as juggling impossible schedules, delaying rejoining the workforce, or making informal child care arrangements. This is an unfair choice that disproportionately impacts women, and it puts children at risk. While the federal government promised to address the child care shortage in Budget 2021, the problem persists, and families can’t wait any longer. Families are waiting for the federal and provincial governments to put kids first and fulfill their commitment to make affordable child care available to all.
Canada is still missing hundreds of thousands of licensed child care spaces.
We are writing this letter to call on your government to end the crisis shortage of licensed child care spaces impacting hundreds of thousands of kids and their families.
We already know the child care shortage is directly connected to the workforce crisis caused by the low wages and poor working conditions for early childhood educators and other staff. Those who work in early childhood education deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They are almost all women, and compensating them fairly is the first step.
We applaud the federal government’s work to reduce child care fees to $10 per day. In doing so, the federal government recognized that accessible child care supports children, families, and our country’s economy. But hundreds of thousands of families are being denied access to this affordability measure because they can’t find licensed child care.
We call on the federal government to do more in the 2024 federal budget:
The federal government needs to provide $7 billion over three years in federal transfer payments to the provinces, territories, and Indigenous governments to fully implement competitive and equitable wage grids for early childhood educators and other staff, along with improved benefits and working conditions.
The federal government needs to provide $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 so that Canada can deliver accessible child care to all families that need it.
Early learning and child care is essential to the wellbeing and development of children. Parents – especially mothers – can’t work without it, and neither can our economy. We urge you to expand your investment in Budget 2024 to prevent hundreds of thousands of Canadian families from being left behind and excluded from affordable licensed child care.