The rising numbers of Canadian women participating in paid work has increased demands for high-quality affordable childcare programs across the nation. At the same time, social sciences and neurobiology developments have highlighted the crucial role played by the early childhood period in laying a solid foundation for long-term intellectual, behavioural, and emotional well-being of a child.
These above factors have contributed to in a greater emphasis on the need to design early childhood programs capable of preparing children for success at school; enhancing the well-being of children who are vulnerable; and enabling parents participation in continuing education and in the labour force.
The Current Situation
In the past, early childhood care and education policy discussions in Canada have focused largely on the role of care towards facilitating the participation of women in the labour force. Advocacy organizations working in the childcare sector are now calling for services that are going to offer learning environments that cater to all young children, not just targeting children whose parents are engaged in the paid labour market.
Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)
The CCTB is a tax credit that is made to families that are eligible for previous years towards helping them in meeting the cost of raising children. The CCTB, as of 1st July 2016 got replaced by the Canada Child Benefit, but you can still claim your tax credits for precious years.
Child Care Vision 2020
In 2014, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC) and stakeholder brought together over 600 international and Canadian child care delegates in a Childcare 2020 conference. Participants included child care activists, advocates, parents, service providers, politicians, academics, economists, trade unionists, early childhood educators, and systems managers.
At the conference close, a motion was enthusiastically and unanimously passed to endorse Childcare 2020: A Vision & Way Forward. This vision is based on three pillars: universal entitlement to all children; high quality child care programs; and comprehensiveness, inclusive childcare services.
For example, Child Care Advantage, an online recruitment service, has been offering support to childcare centres, daycare, pre-schools, before & after school programs as well as kid’s camps towards meeting their needs for staffing in line with ChildCare 2020.
Childcare for Indigenous Communities
The childcare community acknowledges that Canadian Indigenous communities need the necessary support towards designing, delivering and managing ECEC services and systems that meet their aspirations and needs for self-determination. While it is accepted that there are lots of commonality points in the shared Canadian vision (ChildCare2020 Conference), it is also recognized that the Indigenous communities have a right to choose unique content and approaches when addressing their child care needs.
It is fully recognized in Canada that implementing the framework envisaged in ChildCare 2020 is not an event but a journey. The vision may take time and resources, but ultimately, it will be well worth the effort if Canada gets it right from the beginning. The federal government, as a first step, has already committed in the 2017 budget to a $500 million childcare investment. If you want to learn more, you may find more information at Wee Watch Licensed Home Child Care.