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

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

Submission in PDF.


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.