Canadian Child Care Federation Call for Nominations 2020

    The Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF) is pleased to invite CCCF members to submit an application for nomination for consideration to run for election for a three-year term on the Board of Directors, based on nominees meeting the following criteria: [Read more…]

    Saskatchewan ECE Survey Reveals the Need for a Workforce Strategy to Raise Quality in the province’s ELCC Sector

    Aging workforce and significant turnover are urgent ELCC workforce issues in the province

    [Read more…]

    National survey highlights: The pandemic experience has created an uncertain future for Canadian child care services

    The COVID 19 pandemic has cast early learning and child care (ELCC) in a new light
    for many Canadians—as an essential service necessary for rebuilding a well-functioning economy. However, the Canadian child care sector suffered from a confusing, uneven and often less-than-adequate approach by governments to supporting services and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The preliminary results of a national survey show significant differences between how jurisdictions responded to the health crisis with respect to ELCC policy, staff, provision funding and parent fees. While the pandemic brought similar challenges to child care services and parents in different regions, the survey showed that how they fared depended on their location in Canada.

    Canada’s child care sector needs funding boost to support parents and economic recovery

    National survey results released: Reopening of child care is at risk

     A survey of more than 8,000 regulated child care facilities across Canada reveals almost all have concerns about reopening their regular early learning and care programs post-COVID, and one-third of them say they are uncertain they will resume operations at all.

    While governments, economists and others say the economy cannot recover from the COVID-19 pandemic without child care services, the child care sector says reopening safely will require financial and staffing resources they don’t have.

    “The child care sector was fragile before the pandemic because public funding has never been sufficient relative to what it costs to provide high quality services,” said Martha Friendly, Executive Director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, the primary researcher behind the survey. The survey was carried out by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, the Canadian Child Care Federation and Child Care Now.

    “Without proper government funding, providers of child care have been forced to live on the edge and be overly reliant on parent fees for revenue. This left them incredibly vulnerable during the pandemic shutdown,” added Friendly.

    The survey shows that almost three-quarters of child care centres in Canada, and about 40 per cent of regulated family child care, were shut down by COVID-19; many stopped receiving parent fees. A majority of centres reported they received less government funding than before COVID-19 although some provincial governments continued to provide financial support.

    Don Giesbrecht, Chief Executive Officer for the Canadian Child Care Federation, the national organization of child care operators, noted the survey’s finding that 70 per cent of the child care centres laid off their workforce during the pandemic.

    “To get child care back up and running, governments must find ways to bring employees back to the sector,” said Giesbrecht. “This means addressing the problem of low wages and inadequate compensation, and putting in place special funding to make sure that child care facilities are safe for both children and staff.”

    In an announcement last Friday, Prime Minister Trudeau offered Canada’s provinces and territories $14 billion in new federal transfers to assist with the reopening of the economy, including the reopening of child care services.

    “We are very pleased the federal government recognizes there can be no economic recovery without child care, and that child care is especially crucial to address the devastating impact of the pandemic on women with young children, but those federal transfers must be earmarked for additional direct operational funding of child care services,” said Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now, Canada’s national child care advocacy organization.

    “Boosting public funding for child care and directing more dollars to child care services will mean that those operating child care centres and family child care programs can have the confidence to put in place safety measures and bolster wages to attract the staff they need without increasing parent fees. This is extremely important given the impact of COVID-19 on household incomes,” said Ballantyne.

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    For media requests:

    Martha Friendly, Childcare Resource and                                                              Don Giesbrecht

    Research Unit                                                                                                                    Canadian Child Care Federation

    (416) 562 7579                                                                                                                  (613) 729-5289 ext.220

    martha.friendly@gmail.com                                                                                       dgiesbrecht@ccf-fcsge.ca

     

    Morna Ballantyne                                                                                                            Technical questions related to the survey:

    Child Care Now                                                                                                                 Barry Forer

    (613) 791-3411                                                                                                                 (604) 862-9839

    ed@ccnow.ca                                                                                                                    barry.forer@ubc.ca

     

    The survey report was authored by Researchers Martha Friendly, Barry Forer and Rachel Vickerson, and published by Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Child Care Now, and Canadian Child Care Federation. 

    A separate report providing data for a more detailed picture will be available next week at www.childcarecanada.org, the Childcare Resource and Research Unit’s website. 

     

    Supporting newcomers, culturally responsive practice and diverse child care

    Resources for making child care a welcoming and supportive place for people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

    [Read more…]

    CCCF Webinar: Canada’s ELCC Sector and COVID – 19 — What’s Happening? How do We Move Forward?

    Across Canada, provincial/territorial government’s COVID-19 actions and directions specific to the ELCC sector have been diverse. From public messaging to different approaches to group sizes to programs/providers opening or closing to the roles of the ELCC workforce in providing Essential Service Worker (ESW) care, it has been a patchwork of responses.

    Link to watch the webinar, originally broadcast on Thursday, April 16, 2020

    Plan to sustain Canada’s Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) through the COVID-19 pandemic

    This plan was developed by Canada’s three national early childhood education and child care organizations: Canadian Child Care Federation, Child Care Now (Canada’s child care advocacy association), and Childcare Resource and Research Unit.

    Canada’s fragile early learning and child care sector will not survive the COVID-19 crisis without sector-specific aide that is provided in a coordinated way by all levels of government. Unlike primary and secondary education, which is publicly funded and publicly delivered, child care in Canada is fragile because it is market-based, fragmented and under-funded. Licensed/regulated services are provided by self-governing, not-for-profit organizations, whose volunteer boards hold legal responsibility, as well as by a smaller number of commercial operators. Most service providers receive minimal public funding and are dependent on revenues from parent fees. The very low compensation paid to the predominantly female workforce has created a crisis in recruitment and retention of qualified early childhood educators and other staff.

    Since the onset of the pandemic, almost all provinces/territories have ordered licensed child care centres to be temporarily closed. In some provinces/territories a limited number were kept open or have been re-opened to provide emergency child care services for essential service workers. Most licensed/regulated home-based child care providers have been either ordered to close or have voluntarily closed because of public health and safety concerns, or because too many parents have withdrawn their children from programs.

    Provincial and territorial governments have taken different and changing approaches to the continuation or cessation of child care services, and to the continuation or cessation of public funding during the pandemic. The constantly changing public policy and operational landscape, combined with the sudden and dramatic drop in parental fee revenue, has put child care organizations, especially the volunteer boards of directors of not-for-profit organizations, in an impossible position. To mitigate risk, some have laid off their employees and shuttered their premises. For many, the shutdown will likely be permanent because they have no reserves to pay ongoing operating costs such as rent or mortgage payments during the pandemic. Other providers, who have been able to struggle through the first few weeks, could face permanent closure as the pandemic continues. There is danger that the sector could experience the termination of thousands of ELCC employees who will not come back to work in the low-wage sector once other employment opportunities open up again. All of this will put Canada’s economic recovery in jeopardy: parents or guardians of young children will not have access to the child care services they need to return to work once it is safe to do so.

    What Canada needs is a plan specifically designed to sustain Canada’s early learning and child care sector through the pandemic. If it collapses, the federal government’s promise to turn the fragile patchwork of services into a robust, fully effective comprehensive high-quality system will be that much more difficult.

    Under the Plan set out below, federal funding will cover 75 per cent of the costs of sustaining the ELCC sector. The proposed funding formula, which requires the provinces and territories to contribute 25 per cent to receive federal funding, will ensure a common framework for sustaining the sector across the country. The plan would replace the other COVID-19 federal support programs that may be available to some but not all ELCC providers: for example, the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Unlike the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the ELCC Plan will ensure the continued full employment of ELCC employees through the pandemic and therefore reduce the numbers who would otherwise make claims under the Employment Insurance program and/or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or social assistance programs. Further, the Plan will provide fee relief to parents— many of whom are being asked to continue to pay fees even if services are closed– during this very difficult time. As well, the cost of the Plan for the federal government can be partly absorbed by the federal budget allocation for ELCC for 2020-21.

    Fundamental Principles and Objectives

    • Stabilization and survival of the ELCC sector is a joint federal/provincial/territorial responsibility;
    • The objective of the Plan is to prevent permanent shuttering of licenced/regulated ELCC programs and the permanent loss of qualified staff to ensure services are in place to support Canada’s economic recovery when we move out of the pandemic period;
    • The Plan respects the provinces’ and territories’ authority and jurisdiction with respect to the delivery of ELCC services while encouraging equitable distribution of federal funds to sustain the sector.

    Plan Components

    • Each licensed/regulated ELCC program will continue to receive its pre-COVID levels of public funding including fee subsidies, operating grants, wage enhancements, and any other public funding or public in-kind contributions in lieu of funding;
    • Each licensed/regulated program that receives public funding under the Plan will be required to cease collecting parent fees of any kind from parents who are unable to access services, including fees to hold a space in the program during the pandemic;
    • Each licensed/regulated ELCC program will receive additional public funding to compensate for any reductions in revenue from parental fees (excluding waitlist fees that programs may collect from parents or other ancillary program fees such as lunch fees, supply fees, music fees);
    • Each program that receives public funding under the Plan will be required to: o keep its employees on its payroll and continue to pay wages, applicable pension contributions and insured benefits;
      • agree to reopen once the province/territory where it is located determines that it is safe to do so;
      • allow parents to re-enrol their children once their program is reopened;
      • forego any other COVID-19 related public funding or support from any level of government
    • Any program that fails to meet the requirements of the plan, or that fails to use the public funds received under this Plan as intended, will be required to pay back the funds received. Funding the Implementation of the Plan
    • Provincial/territorial governments will be responsible for determining the cost of implementing the Plan in their respective provinces/territories.
    • The federal government will transfer to each province/territory that agrees to implement the Plan an amount equivalent to 75 per cent of the cost of implementation.

    Submitted to the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, April 14, 2020

    Urgent Open Letter to Canada’s P/T Ministers – Coordinated Early Learning and Child Care Planning on COVID-19

    The CCCF with the support of its pan-Canadian affiliates have sent an open letter to all Ministers–federal, provincial and territorial–responsible for Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) calling for coordinated action and initiatives between governments specific to ELCC.

    Open Letter to PT Ministers March 25, 2020