Like many other organizations and individuals across the country, OCBCC is a member of Child Care Now, Canada's primary ELCC advocacy group. As such, we strongly endorse Child Care Now's written submission for the 2019 pre-budget consultations. Child Care Now’s recommendations and analysis are so vitally important to Canada’s future prosperity and competitiveness that we reiterate them here in hopes that the Committee will understand the broad support that these proposals inspire.
- In 2019-20, transfer $1 billion to provinces, territories and Indigenous communities for the purpose of building accessible, affordable, high quality and inclusive early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) systems.
- Earmark ample additional funds in the 2019-20 federal budget and subsequent budgets to implement an Indigenous-led framework agreement on ELCC.
Funding to provinces and territories will be conditional on sub-national action plans that meet evidence-based standards for accessible, affordable, high quality, inclusive ELCC. For example, to qualify for ELCC transfer funds, sub-national plans must:
- Recognize that high-quality ELCC is an entitlement for all children and families;
- Direct public funding to operation of services—not vouchers, tax breaks, fee subsidies or transfers to individuals;
- Adopt a planned, publicly-managed approach to expansion of regulated ELCC through public and non-profit services;
- Define affordability as: no parent fees, or fees that are geared-to-income so no household is paying more than 10 per cent of after-tax annual income for early learning and child care;
- Make the process of improving quality an ongoing integral component of ELCC policy;
- Recognize that a well-educated, well-paid, well-recognized ELCC workforce is essential to ensuring that services are of high quality and are accessible/available;
- Commit to public accountability to ensure public funds are used to improve the availability, affordability, quality and inclusiveness of ELCC;
- Commit to full inclusion of children with disabilities;
- Recognize that ELCC programs and services must reflect and celebrate Canada’s cultural diversity;
- Recognize linguistic rights, including the right of Indigenous Peoples to learn, speak and preserve their languages;
- Commit to providing a comprehensive range of services to meet the needs of families and children at the community level, as one size does not fit all;
- Recognize that a universal, equitable system of high quality ELCC and a universal, equitable system of parental leave are complementary and a key component of supportive family policy.
4. Increase Canada’s ELCC budget significantly each year until it reaches at least 1% of GDP—an international benchmark for government spending on child care and early learning—by 2029-30.