An early childhood education and care system: Key to closing Ontario's gender wage gap

Jan 15, 2016

OCBCC's Submission to the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee

Submission in PDF.

Excerpts:

As an organization that represents the perspectives of both parents and the child care workforce our approach to this issue is grounded in two realities make building a real child care system a key element in any strategy for closing the gender wage gap:

  1. The lack of affordable, high quality child care continues to limit many women’s opportunities to participate in full-time work, training or education; 
  2. Child care work is still a firmly entrenched ‘female job ghetto’ in which the almost entirely female workforce continues to experience a ‘care penalty’. This workforce is underpaid and undervalued as determined by Ontario’s pay equity process.

These are both critical barriers to closing the gender wage gap that are linked to a larger overarching issue: child care remains a private market not a system.  The current child care market does us all a disservice as it limits government responsibility and leaves public planning and coherent delivery on the sidelines. To address Ontario’s gender wage gap, we must move from a child care market to a comprehensive system.

...

We recommend that the Ontario government adopt the principles of the Shared Framework for Building an Early Childhood Education and Care System for All and immediately begin a process to transform Ontario’s current child care market patchwork into a comprehensive system.  We recommend:

1.     The Government of Ontario builds an early childhood education and care system based on the principles of universality, high quality and comprehensiveness that:

a.     Recognizes that access requires both a supply of high quality services and fees that all families can afford (or no fee);

b.     Employs a well-compensated, well-supported, well-educated early childhood workforce, which is recognized and appreciated for the importance of their work;

2.     To build this system, Ontario must develop:

a.     a coherent policy framework with targets and timelines for expansion of early childhood education and care services;

b.     a long-term plan for sustained predictable public funding including both base funding to support affordable, high quality services directly and a capital infrastructure plan to expand and maintain services;

c.     an early childhood education and care workforce strategy, including a wage strategy.

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