Take One Minute to Tell your Story

Help get more money in the federal budget for child care

Frustrated by the high cost of child care? Tired of limited options? Worried about the state of child care in our country? You’re not alone. The Standing Committee on Finance is visiting communities for open Pre-Budget Consultations to find out the priorities of Canadians like you. Take this opportunity to tell them your child care story and ensure the federal government knows that affordable, accessible, inclusive child care is your concern.

Participants will have one minute to speak to the committee, on a “first come, first speak” basis. Be creative: tell a personal story, hold a sign or wear a t-shirt, bring your children, share the microphone with your coworkers, friends and neighbours – after all, child care affects all of us.

Did you know?

  • Many Canadians spend almost ¼ of their income on child care
  • When it comes to child care funding, Canada spends less than 34 other industrialized countries
  • A middle-income Toronto family with an infant and three-year old child must pay $36,000 a year for a regulated child care spot – if they can get one

What can be done?

Tell the Federal Government its annual funding commitment for early learning and child care over the next eleven years is not enough. We need more money in future budgets, starting in 2018. Future federal/provincial/territorial child care funding agreements must transform the child care system:

  • Replace parent-fee subsidy systems with full direct public funding of child care services
  • Affordable fees, geared to income with a cap
  • Expand availability: a publicly managed plan to grow the public and non-profit sectors
  • End crisis in recruitment and retention of staff: professional pay, decent working conditions and training and development

Scheduled meetings in your city

  • 3 October: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • 4 October: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 5 October: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • 6 October: Calgary, Alberta
  • 16 October: St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • 17 October: Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 18 October: Montreal, Quebec
  • 19 October: Windsor, Ontario
  • 20 October: Toronto, Ontario

Looking to lead a group? Contact the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada for key facts and information by email or at (613) 212-0065, Toll free: (866) 620-2753.

Pledge your support to end the child care crisis in Canada, visit childcareforall.ca

4 thoughts on “Take One Minute to Tell your Story

  1. Due to the high cost of child care I was unable to work full time until both children were in school . Even now it’s unreliable and not user friendly for shift workers (healthcare workers) , then you hear the statement ” they’ve been doing it for years ” but at what sacrifice to the children. Shuffled around from one sitter to the next in one day? We need reliable affordable childcare and we need it yesterday!

  2. I would love to come to the meeting in Saskatoon, but because it is during the week, I won’t be able to attend. I am an assistant director in an Early Learning Child Care Centre in Swift Current, Sk. We are running a deficit due to staffing costs. If I took a day off from work to advocate for more funding for Child Care, my centre would not be able to maintain the proper staff/child ratios and our license to operate would be at risk.

    There are so many things that I’d like to advocate for, but I will focus on staffing for now.

    Staff absences: We try to staff to enhance the ratios. On days where staff are all present, we run a wonderful operation with child-led programming. Our staff have opportunities to prep and scaffold on children’s interests. They have time to make personal connections with children and help them regulate those “big emotions”. On days that one or two staff are away (they do tend to catch every bug and deserve holidays!) and in order to maintain ratios, we have situations where a group of children are waiting in the bathroom while the teacher tries to maintain a potty training schedule or help a child through a bout of constipation. A director has to work on the floor to maintain ratios and leave the admin work for another day, perhaps on her own time, and either earn overtime ( a hit to the budget) or just do it and not ask for compensation. (forget time off in lieu of overtime – we need all hands on deck!) Planned excursions are cancelled. Children may have to be re-arranged in with another group of children. Staffing absences are a headache to everyone. Many dedicated staff come to work when they are sick because they know the struggle to get through the day without them. Their symptoms linger because they don’t stay home and rest. We need a solution so the quality of care we offer doesn’t change on days when staff are absent. We cannot afford to maintain a teacher sub list and pay anyone willing to come in and cover shifts.

    Staff education: Our provincial regulations state that staff must be taking classes to earn their ECE levels. If they do not have any education, they cannot work more than 65 hours a month. Many of our staff are motivated to take night classes and online classes. However, this costs money! We cannot afford to pay our staff a decent wage so that they can easily manage the cost of taking classes and buying the books. It is a catch 22 that creates a lot of stress on our teachers, that already work full time and devote a lot of energy to the daily routine.

    Staff wages: We give raises to the staff as they earn their ECE levels. Then we run into situations where everyone’s pay is going up and the only recourse we have is to raise parent fees or lay off higher paid staff and hire new staff who are just starting to earn their levels. If we raise parent fees, we run the risk of having families withdraw because they cannot afford our care and they don’t qualify for subsidy. Now their children are in unlicensed unregulated care.

    We need direct funding from the government that helps with staffing costs. We need a pay scale that attracts and retains the best candidates for teaching young children. We need funding so that we can improve working conditions for our dedicated staff. Burn out and turnover are high. We are constantly going through the process of interviewing, hiring, training, coaching, assisting them in registering staff in ECE classes, only to have them leave 1 year later or sooner. This takes up so much administration time, creating stress for Directors.

  3. As an RECE and mother of four young adult children I am so grateful and fortunate that when my children were young I had access to high quality, licensed subsidized child care so that I was able to adequately provide for them as a single mother. Sadly, until the Provincial government commits to licensed, universal and accessible high quality child care our youngest and most vulnerable will continue to be at risk in unregulated care. In the GTA alone the majority of families cannot afford or access licensed child care where the health and safety of children is paramount. They have no choice but to leave their children in the care of unregulated providers who are not monitored and do not adhere to the strict regulations of licensed child care. All levels of government MUST step up to the plate and commit to providing families a safe environment for their children so that they can work or attend school. Regulated quality child care is not a luxury it is a necessity!

    Amy O’Neil, B.A., RECE

  4. The story I have to share is heartbreaking and devastating.
    One family at the child care where I work is faced with the death of their parent, with the cost of child care the children are being withdrawn from care due to the cost of child care, if there was universal or free child care because I feel that child care should be the highest priority for all children, back to my story,, if child care was affordable, the children would remain in childcare where they belong to support them through this difficult time, child care workers are like extended family, children and families depend on child care workers and a place where the children feel a sense of belonging. The decision to offer free child care should be the highest priority for the future of all children.

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