Supporting a Canada-Wide Child Care and Early Years System

Supporting a Canada-Wide Child Care and Early Years System

Affordable and high quality child care is essential for nonprofit workers

Over the past couple of years, ONN has been advocating to all levels of government alongside providers, workers, advocates, and community members for a Canada-wide child care system. High quality and affordable universal child care is a matter of gender equity as it enables women to work outside of the home or pursue education opportunities, employment and skills training programs, and other endeavours, and is a critical source of employment for women in of itself, especially with decent work jobs. Child care is particularly important for nonprofit workers as almost 80 per cent of the nonprofit workforce in Ontario consists of women. 

But also, child care system building is a matter of taking profit out of care. While a majority of licensed child care spaces in the province are nonprofit-driven (75 per cent) with increased public investments there are concerns for the growth of big box chain focused on building real estate portfolios and profits for shareholders, rather than parents, children, and communities.

In this way, universal child care lends itself to be a responsible fiscal and economic policy and support for all parents.

Nonprofits Deliver a Canada-Wide Child Care System with choices

Nonprofits, including nonprofit cooperatives, are the best partners for governments to build and expand a Canada-wide licensed child care system that is affordable, accessible, high quality and inclusive. While the sector is making the best out of precarious child care infrastructure, an enabling policy environment led by the federal government, negotiated with the provinces/territories, and implemented by the municipal managers would allow the sector to better support parents and children. 

The sector is well positioned to offer a variety of flexible, high quality child care choices to parents that do not compromise quality of care, safety and working conditions. Expanding in partnership with the nonprofit sector now will have positive cascading effects for children, parents – especially mothers, the child care workforce, communities and the broader economy for years to come.

ONN’s recommendations for expanding a Canada-wide child care system with nonprofits:

  1. Target all investments for expanding licensed child care across Canada exclusively to nonprofit and nonprofit cooperatives to take profit out of care and ensure there is no further expansion in the for-profit sector.
  2. Unlock capital financing through repayable loans, loan guarantees, and/or capital grants to help nonprofits and nonprofit cooperatives purchase real estate and/or renovate and retrofit existing buildings for child care expansion.  
  3. Provide grants for nonprofits to hire professional advisory services for expansion needs such as capital finance planning and economic modelling; feasibility and risk management assessments; site selection, leasing and acquisition; project management and construction; and training staff. 
  4. Develop and implement local human resource strategy for the child care workforce to ensure there is sustainable recruitment and retention of staff to meet expansion needs.

Related Resources:

Calls to Action 

  1. Share briefing note in your networks;
  2. Deploy and amplify ONN’s recommendations and key messages in your own policy advocacy work; 
  3. Join provincial and national child care coalitions to support the building of a Canada-wide child care and early years system.