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Canada needs a national childcare strategy now!

    Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 18:20

    High quality, accessible, affordable, inclusive childcare is important for children, but it’s also essential for care givers—particularly women—who shoulder the burden of unpaid care work.

    As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, without access to childcare, women either take on a disproportionate share of unpaid care work in the home, balancing paid work with child care, house work, and in some cases home schooling—or they reduce their work hours, take leaves of absence from work, or leave their jobs entirely. In August, Statistics Canada reported that mothers whose youngest child was 6-17 years old were the furthest from returning to pre-pandemic employment levels.

    If unpaid care work was equally distributed between people of all genders, access to childcare might not be so central to ensuring that the rights of women are respected, protected, and upheld. However, ongoing gender discrimination leads to women carrying out the bulk of unpaid care work, including childcare, making access to childcare very much a women’s rights issue in Canada.

    Without childcare women may not be able to work. Without paid work, women don’t have income security and may live in poverty, a risk factor for gender-based violence. Without paid work, women may be dependent on a partner, which can lead to power imbalances in the home, a risk factor for gender-based violence.  

    Black, Indigenous, and other families of colour and people living in poverty have long been denied access to childcare because it has been unaffordable and often non-inclusive. Access to childcare is insufficient in many parts of Canada, and especially in rural and remote areas and for women who don’t work weekday office hours.

    Childcare in Canada is not consistently regulated, there are not enough spaces, it is often unaffordable. Gender justice means economic security for women, and economic security for women is impossible without a national childcare strategy!

    Call on your Member of Parliament to support and fully fund a national childcare strategy.

    Please send an email or letter to your Member of Parliament. Search here to find your Member of Parliament.

    • Start with “Dear [add MP’s name] and a sentence about yourself to make your message unique.
    • Express concern that lack of high quality, accessible, affordable, inclusive childcare childcare in Canada denies women—and in particular Black, Indigenous, other women of colour and women living in poverty—access to childcare. Access to childcare is critical to making progress on gender equality.
    • Note that the recently negotiated Safe Restart Agreement earmarking new federal transfer funds to provinces and territories for childcare is a step in the right direction, but more action is urgently needed.
    • Call on your Member of Parliament to support a national childcare strategy which includes:
      • Immediate establishment of a federal secretariat on childcare to create a national childcare system centered on the rights and wellbeing of parents, children, and staff;
      • Establish a national childcare system to provide high quality, accessible, affordable, inclusive childcare for every family in Canada;
      • Fully implement the Indigenous early learning and childcare framework agreement; and
      • Make funding a national childcare strategy a priority in the forthcoming federal budget.

    Write to:

    Your Member of Parliament.

    Send a copy of your email or letter to:

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