The Challenges of Cultural Competence


    Interaction CCCF/FALL 2015

    The Challenges of Cultural Competence Exploring the Impacts of Race, Culture and Identity on Early Childhood Educator Practice by Chanequa Cameron and Lyndsay Macdonald

    The notion that early childhood is a critical period for establishing a strong foundation for cognitive, linguistic, social and emotional development has become well established within the sector (NAE, 2015). As many experts would agree, children begin to make sense of their world in early childhood, making it a prime time for children to develop positive ideas about their self-identity which goes hand in hand with a child’s ethnic background and culture (Friendly & Prabhu, 2010). There is also a growing trend in professional learning and training across the early childhood sector that is refl ective of the diverse makeup of the Canadian population. This article will explore, from the professional perspective of the authors, how race, culture and individual identity impact the professional practice of early childhood educators (ECEs) and workers in Canada. This topic will be explored through a cultural competence lens as the authors’ present research alongside culturally competent recommendations for professional reflection and personal stories.

    Download the Full Article at: Chanequa Cameron – article – Interaction-Fall2015


    Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Mandate Letter

    Dear Mr. Duclos:

    I am honoured that you have agreed to serve Canadians as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

    We have promised Canadians a government that will bring real change – in both what we do and how we do it. Canadians sent a clear message in this election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a strong and growing middle class. Canadians expect us to fulfill our commitments, and it is my expectation that you will do your part in delivering on those promises to Canadians.

    We made a commitment to invest in growing our economy, strengthening the middle class, and helping those working hard to join it.  We committed to provide more direct help to those who need it by giving less to those who do not.  We committed to public investment as the best way to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity.  We committed to a responsible, transparent fiscal plan for challenging economic times.

    I expect Canadians to hold us accountable for delivering these commitments, and I expect all ministers to do their part – individually and collectively – to improve economic opportunity and security for Canadians.

    It is my expectation that we will deliver real results and professional government to Canadians.  To ensure that we have a strong focus on results, I will expect Cabinet committees and individual ministers to: track and report on the progress of our commitments; assess the effectiveness of our work; and align our resources with priorities, in order to get the results we want and Canadians deserve.

    If we are to tackle the real challenges we face as a country – from a struggling middle class to the threat of climate change – Canadians need to have faith in their government’s honesty and willingness to listen.  I expect that our work will be informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback from Canadians.  We will direct our resources to those initiatives that are having the greatest, positive impact on the lives of Canadians, and that will allow us to meet our commitments to them.  I expect you to report regularly on your progress toward fulfilling our commitments and to help develop effective measures that assess the impact of the organizations for which you are answerable.

    I made a personal commitment to bring new leadership and a new tone to Ottawa. We made a commitment to Canadians to pursue our goals with a renewed sense of collaboration. Improved partnerships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments are essential to deliver the real, positive change that we promised Canadians. No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

    We have also committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government.  It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves.  Government and its information should be open by default.  If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians.  It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them.  Canadians do not expect us to be perfect – they expect us to be honest, open, and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.

    Our platform guides our government.  Over the course of our four-year mandate, I expect us to deliver on all of our commitments.  It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we fulfill our promises, while living within our fiscal plan.  Other issues will arise or will be brought to our attention by Canadians, stakeholders, and the public service.  It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to your agenda when appropriate.

    As Minister, you will be held accountable for our commitment to bring a different style of leadership to government. This will include: close collaboration with your colleagues; meaningful engagement with Opposition Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Committees and the public service; constructive dialogue with Canadians, civil society, and stakeholders, including business, organized labour, the broader public sector, and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors; and identifying ways to find solutions and avoid escalating conflicts unnecessarily. As well, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who, by asking necessary questions, contribute in an important way to the democratic process. Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential.

    Canadians expect us, in our work, to reflect the values we all embrace:  inclusion, honesty, hard work, fiscal prudence, and generosity of spirit.  We will be a government that governs for all Canadians, and I expect you, in your work, to bring Canadians together.

    You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity and that Indigenous Canadians and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.

    As Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, your overarching goal will be to increase Canadians’ economic and social security.  All Canadian children deserve a real and fair chance to succeed, and all Canadians should be able to live with dignity.  I trust you will keep these principles uppermost in your mind as you deliver on our commitments, and I know you will undertake your work in a collaborative way with an appreciation that provinces and municipalities play a leadership role in these areas.

    You will be the leader of a strong team of Ministers, supported by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour and the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

    In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:

    • Work with the Minister of Finance to design and implement the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which will build on the existing Canada Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement and will replace the Universal Child Care Benefit.
    • Work with the Minister of Finance to improve the income security of lower income seniors living alone by increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by ten percent, indexing Old Age Security (OAS) and GIS payments to a new Senior’s Price Index, cancelling the increase in age of eligibility for OAS (65 to 67), and working with provinces and territories to ensure adequate and coordinated support programs to address seniors’ poverty.
    • Work with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to launch consultations with provinces and territories and Indigenous Peoples on a National Early Learning and Childcare Framework as a first step towards delivering affordable, high-quality, flexible and fully inclusive child care.
    • Lead the development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy that would set targets to reduce poverty and measure and publicly report on our progress, in collaboration with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.  Our strategy will align with and support existing provincial and municipal poverty reduction strategies.
    • Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to fulfill our commitment to provide more generous and flexible leave for caregivers and more flexible parental leave.
    • In your role as Minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to develop a strategy to re-establish the federal government’s role in supporting affordable housing, including:
      • prioritizing infrastructure investments in affordable housing and seniors’ housing, including finding ways to support the municipal construction of new housing units and refurbishment of existing ones;
      • providing support to municipalities to maintain rent-geared-to-income subsidies in co-ops;
      • providing communities the money they need for Housing First initiatives that help homeless Canadians find stable housing;
      • working with the Minister of Finance to encourage the construction of new affordable rental housing by removing all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing;
      • working with the Minister of Finance to modernize the existing Home Buyers’ Plan to allow Canadians impacted by sudden and significant life changes to buy a house without tax penalty;
      • working with the Minister of Finance to ensure that the new Canada Infrastructure Bank provides financing to support the construction of new, affordable rental housing;
      • working with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to conduct an inventory of all available federal lands and buildings that could be repurposed, and making some of these lands available at low cost, or no cost, for affordable housing;
      • undertaking a review of escalating home prices in high-priced housing markets and considering all policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach for more Canadians;
      • bringing forward a proposal to prevent mortgage fraud; and
      • using the restored mandatory long-form census to ensure that decisions on housing are made using the best and most up-to-date data available.
    • Work with the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, as well as with provinces, territories and stakeholders, to develop a National Disabilities Act to eliminate systemic barriers and deliver equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities.
    • Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to develop a Social Innovation and Social Finance strategy.
    • Work with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to set transparent service standards so that Canadians get timely access to the benefits to which they are entitled.

    These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments.  The government’s agenda will be further articulated through Cabinet discussions and in the Speech from the Throne when Parliament opens.

    I expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and his or her senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest.  Your Deputy Minister will brief you on issues your department may be facing that may require decisions to be made quickly.  It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions, so that issues facing your department are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner, and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our government.

    Our ability, as a government, to successfully implement our platform depends on our ability to thoughtfully consider the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants.  Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians.  I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, and the role of public servants under his or her direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.

    In the coming weeks, the Privy Council Office (PCO) will be contacting you to set up a meeting with PCO officials, your Deputy Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office to further discuss your plans, commitments and priorities.

    We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards, and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds.  I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do.  When dealing with our Cabinet colleagues, Parliament, stakeholders, or the public, it is important that your behaviour and decisions meet Canadians’ well-founded expectations of our government.  I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust.

    As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines.  You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities.  I ask that you carefully read it and ensure that your staff does so as well.  I draw your attention in particular to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff.  As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny.  This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.  Please also review the areas of Open and Accountable Government that we have expanded or strengthened, including the guidance on non-partisan use of departmental communications resources and the new code of conduct for exempt staff.

    I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you.  In turn, please know that you can count on me to support you every day in your role as Minister.

    I am deeply grateful to have this opportunity to serve with you as we build an even greater country.  Together, we will work tirelessly to honour the trust Canadians have given us.

    Yours sincerely,

    Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P. Prime Minister of Canada

    *This Ministerial Mandate Letter was signed by the Prime Minister in the Minister’s first official language.

    – See more at:

    The Canadian Child Care Federation is Proud to Announce Ellen Hamilton from Iqaluit, Nunavut as the 2015 Recipient of the CCCF Award of Excellence

    About the award recipient: Ellen Hamilton is the Manager, Early Childhood Education Programs at Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit.

    In August of 2013 Ellen began rebuilding the Early Childhood Education Program for Nunavut Arctic College by envisioning and developing a territory-wide ECE strategy. Through widespread consultations and research, she designed and now manages the delivery of two new programs that meet the cultural and professional needs of future child care workers and builds capacity in the existing Nunavut child care system:

    1) A two-year Diploma Program in ECE (the first of its kind) commenced in September,

    2014 with 14 Inuit child care workers who are being educated to become leaders in the field;

    2) The first workplace ECE training program in Nunavut for current child care workers. The Applied Certificate program is successfully piloted in 7 communities across the territory with 67Inuit child care workers enrolled.

    In 2014 Ellen raised over $1 million dollars in annual third-party program funding for the three-year pilot of the ECE Strategy and oversaw a $1.5 million dollar budget.

    In 2015, Ellen was successful in being awarded funding of approximately $1 million dollars to continue delivering and developing the Nunavut ECE Strategy. She supervises 10 ECE instructors and 10 Inuit elder-instructors and manages adult programming to 80 adult students, all of whom are Nunavut beneficiaries. Ellen designed and supervises the ongoing development of a Nunavut-specific curriculum that integrates Inuit language and culture, is recognized by southern Canadian colleges and has achieved post-secondary designation.

    More than 200 Inuit child care workers from all three regions of Nunavut have received training in early childhood education between 2013-14.

    The Nominees: The CCCF would also like to recognize all of the nominees for the CCCF Award of Excellence 2015. Each one has contributed significantly to early childhood learning and care in Canada and are worthy of recognition. They are:

    Karen Isaac from Vancouver, BC

    Kerry Duchnycz from Surrey, BC

    Terri Tretjak from Thompson, MB

    Dr. Susan Prentice from Winnipeg, MB

    Dr. Nathalie Bigras from Montréal, QC


    The Canadian Child Care Federation’s Award for Excellence in Child Care honours individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of child care and is presented biennially.

    It recognizes accomplishments in all areas of child care, including those who work directly with children. Nominees have given their time, talent and energy to enhance child care in Canada and have:

    • contributed to a higher quality of child care, locally, provincially or nationally
    • advocated on behalf of children, families or caregivers
    • made a recognized contribution to the profession
    • assumed a high level of responsibility
    • demonstrated commitment and creativity

    The CCCF would also like to thank all of the individuals who took the time to nominate all of these outstanding candidates as well as the Awards Selection Committee, chaired by April Kalyniuk and comprised of CCCF Member Council members Helen Sinclair from Flatrock, NL; Chanequa Cameron from Toronto, ON; Jodie Kehl from Winnipeg, MB; Rebecca Leong from Calgary, AB; Marlene Alcon Kepka from Calgary, AB


    Meeting The Challenge Blog- helping you to meet the challenge

    Welcome to our Meeting the Challenge blog! This is your online conversation about the course. Each week I will be posting interesting links, resources and conversation starters about the content. Feel free to join in the discussion.

    To begin, why don’t we introduce ourselves…virtually. Post your first name, where in Canada you live and work and a bit about the work you do to support children and families in your community. You can also add a personal bit- tell us about your pet, your children or hobbies and interests. Remember, this is a closed blog so no one but me and the other participants will be able to read the postings.

    Have fun and let’s get to know each other!

    You have read my bio already, but I will add something….I have a choc lab/retriever and his name is Angus.

    Radon Testing in Child Care Programs

    The Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE) and the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF) have three new resources to help child care professionals communicate with client families about radon testing in their centres.

    • Are you starting a radon test in your child care centre? Download this adaptable mini-poster to inform client families about your efforts and why radon testing is important. Great for posting on bulletin boards or for back-packing home. Available as a fillable PDF in English and French.  CPCHE Radon Testing ENG
    • Have you received your radon test results? Use these letter templates to inform client families about the results of your centre’s radon testing.

    –      The “below guideline” letter is for use by centres that have tested below the Health Canada guideline for acceptable radon levels. Radon Test Results Letter Below EN

    –      The “above guideline” letter is for use by centres for which the testing has revealed elevated radon. Radon Test Results Letter Above EN

    Both letters are available in Microsoft Word, in English and French, and can be adapted to reflect your facility’s specific radon test results and circumstances.

    Visit CPCHE’s webpage or the CCCF’s website at  for these free downloads and other useful information on radon.

    CPCHE and CCCF’s ongoing efforts to promote radon awareness and action in the child care sector are made possible by financial support from Health Canada.

    CPCHE LogoHC


    Finding quality child care: A guide for parents in Canada

    This website provides information for parents in Canada looking for quality child care that’s affordable and meets the needs of their families.  Find out why it’s hard to find good child care, about child care options in each province and territory, general information about child care in Canada, what the best evidence says about quality, and how to improve your chances of accessing high-quality child care.

    You Bet We Still Care: A Survey of Centre-Based Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada


    In 2009, the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council (CCHRSC) formed an expert panel to provide input on the development of a Labour Market Information Research Agenda. Conducting a survey of employers and employees working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector was identified as a top priority.

    This key recommendation was put into action by the CCHRSC in 2011. The CCHRSC worked with a research team led by Kathleen Flanagan and Jane Beach in partnership with the Institute for Social Research at York University to undertake the survey project, called You Bet We Still Care!. A steering committee was established to guide and support the work of the project. The members of the You Bet We Still Care! steering committee brought a wealth of expertise and experience from the ECEC sector in the areas of research, government, and child care administration. A complete list of members is on page 33.

    The You Bet We Still Care! survey is the first time in over a decade that data on wages, working conditions, and human resource issues in regulated child care centres has been collected. Building on similar Canadian research studies Caring for a Living (1991) and You Bet I Care! (1998), You Bet We Still Care! (2012) contributes to a long-term picture of human resources for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Canada.

    The survey’s findings will provide employers and policy makers with essential data that can be used to address human resources challenges such as recruitment and retention, training and professional development, opportunities for career advancement and job satisfaction.

    While the ECEC sector in Canada is comprised of a diverse range of programs and services,1
    this study concentrated on employers, directors, and program staff in full-time (i.e., six consecutive hours or more per day, five days per week) child care centres across Canada that were licensed by provincial or territorial governments, and that provided full-time spaces for infants, toddlers, and/or preschool age children.

    You Bet We Still Care Highlights Report

    CCCF Members Interaction Magazine: It’s Online and FREE For You As One of Your Member Benefits


    Please watch your mail for information about the CCCF’s current edition of Interaction Magazine, which is online now (and not to be confused with, which is the CCCF’s weekly e-newsletter). The spring 2013 edition of Interaction Magazine is focused on Caring for Aboriginal Children and has great articles, amongst others, on integrating aboriginal culture into the child care setting and reflections from an ECE who worked in a remote Metis community.

    In order to access Interaction Magazine, you need to register on the CCCF website. If you have already registered, fantastic! Logon now to get your copy today. If you have not registered, information about how to do so is included in your postcard mailer—including the chance to win prizes for registering—a VISA gift card and a CCCF prize pack valued at over $100!

    Not currently a CCCF member? Support the CCCF and early childhood education and care across Canada by becoming a member today. Go to, sign up and get your copy of Interaction online and access the Member’s Only section of the CCCF website!

    Canadian Child Care Federation – We Value Children