The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is calling for immediate action on child care from the Ontario government following the release of a government-commissioned report that made child care its first recommendation to close the gender wage gap.
The Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee's final report recommended that the government immediately build a system
that is "high quality, affordable, accessible, publicly funded and geared to income, with sufficient spaces to meet the needs of Ontario families."
"Today's report is clear that child care is key to closing the gender wage gap. We need committed action from the government to build the child care system that Ontario needs. That means base funding, affordable fees and decent work for the child care workforce." said Carolyn Ferns, OCBCC's Public Policy Coordinator.
Ontario's lack of affordable, high quality child care limits many women’s opportunities to participate in full-time work, training or education. In addition, early learning and child care work is an female dominated workforce that continues to experience a ‘care penalty’. This workforce is underpaid and undervalued as determined by Ontario’s pay equity process.
The Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee traveled around Ontario holding public town hall meetings about how to close the 30% gender wage gap in Ontario. At the consultations the Committee found that the lack of affordable child care was the number one issue raised by Ontarians.
"It's good that the Committee heard the voices around Ontario that are calling for a new approach to child care. With the opportunity of a federal early learning and child care framework in the works, Ontario has a chance to be a leader. But we need a sustained commitment to building a real system." said Ferns.