Open letter to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada: There is no time like the present to build a pan-Canadian system of child care

12 August 2020
August 12, 2020

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Freeland:

We congratulate you for arriving at a Safe Restart agreement with Canada’s provincial/territorial First Ministers to help “make our country more resilient.”

The earmarked spending on child care is an important indication of the federal government’s understanding that economic recovery depends on meeting the child care needs of parents with young children, especially mothers. We remain hopeful that the agreement’s provision for child care, amounting to only 3 per cent of more than $19 billion in new federal transfers, does not signal that child care is a low government priority, or that it reflects a misunderstanding of the extent of Canada’s child care crisis. Thus, we stress the importance of further, bolder federal government action going forward.

Now is the time to lay the groundwork for the construction of a system of child care, as you promised Canadians in the last federal election. You and other federal ministers have publicly acknowledged the importance and centrality of child care. In fact, the pandemic experience has made it clear to all that child care is essential in bad times and good.

What is required now is for the federal government to fund and expand child care as a principal piece of Canada’s social infrastructure going forward.

The signatories to this open letter urge you to move quickly to establish a federal secretariat on child care that can guide the building of a robust system of high quality, accessible, affordable, inclusive child care that has the wellbeing of children and child care staff at its centre and that, at the same time, supports parents—particularly mothers—to re-enter and stay in the paid labour force. We also urge that the establishment and expansion of a child care system for Canada, and the ongoing implementation of the Indigenous early learning and child care framework agreement, be funded as a priority in your government’s short and long-term federal budget plans beginning this year.

The pandemic has had devastating consequences for women’s equality and economic security, family functioning, children’s wellbeing, and the health of the economy. Key to recovery is child care. You have said it. Many have said it. We say it. Now it is time to turn words into action.

Yours sincerely,

Melanie Adrian
Professor, University Chair in Teaching Innovation, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University

Lynell Anderson CPA, CGA
Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC

Natalie Appleyard
Socio-Economic Policy Analyst, Citizens for Public Justice

Morna Ballantyne
Executive Director, Child Care Now

Suki Beavers
Executive Director/Directrice exécutive, National Association of Women and the Law / L’Association nationale Femmes et Droit

Andrew Bevan
Executive Advisor, Fakih Foundation

Kate Bezanson
Associate Professor, Sociology and Associate Dean of Social Sciences, Brock University

Barbara Cameron
Co-Chair, Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action

Gordon Cleveland
Associate Professor Emeritus, Economics, University of Toronto, Scarborough

Penny Collenette
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Common Law, University of Ottawa

Catherine Cross
Executive Director, Association of Early Childhood Educators of NS

Jerry Dias
National President, Unifor

Andrea Doucet
Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Gender, Care and Work, Brock University

Carolyn Ferns
Public Policy and Government Relations Coordinator, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

Marni Flaherty
CEO, Today’s Family

Barry Forer
Research Associate, University of British Columbia (Human Early Learning Partnership)

Pierre Fortin
Economist, father of five, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

Martha Friendly
Executive Director, Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Emily Gawlick
Executive Director, Early Childhood Educators of BC

Don Giesbrecht
CEO/PDG, Canadian Child Care Federation / Fédération canadienne des services de garde à l’enfance

Amy Go
President, Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice

David Green
Professor of Economics, University of British Columbia

Margo Greenwood
Professor, University of Northern British Columbia

Sharon Gregson
Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC

Jeffrey Hawkins BA, MSW, RSW, CEC

Kate Higgins
Interim Executive Director, Oxfam Canada

Kim Hiscott
Chair, Home Child Care Association of Ontario

Sonya Hooper
Executive Director, Early Childhood Development Association of PEI

Ani Hotoyan-Joly
Independent corporate director

Sharon Irwin
Executive Director, Specialink: The National Centre for Early Childhood Inclusion

Karen Isaac
Executive Director, BC Aboriginal Child Care Society

Nuzhat Jafri
Executive Director, Canadian Council of Muslim Women

Pamela Jeffery
Founder, The Prosperity Project

Jillian Kilfoil
Executive Director, Women’s Network Prince Edward Island

Jodie Kehl
Executive Director, Manitoba Child Care Association

Paul Kershaw
University of British Columbia Professor and Founder of Generation Squeeze

Farrah Khan
Manager, Consent Comes First, the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education, Ryerson University

Lara Koerner Yeo
Co-Chair, Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action

Michi Komori
Consultant, Innovation and Sustainability

Donna Lero
University Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph

John Loxley (recently deceased)
Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba

Monica Lysack
Professor, Early Childhood Education, Sheridan College

David Macdonald
Senior Economist, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Rianne Mahon
Distinguished Research Professor, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Carleton University

Lise Martin
Executive Director/Directrice Générale, Women’s Shelters Canada / Hébergement femmes Canada

Margaret McCuaig-Boyd
former Energy Minister, Government of Alberta (2015-2019), member of The Prosperity Project, and former school principal

Patsy McKinney
Under One Sky-Monoqonuwicik-Neoteetjg Mosigisg Inc., Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities

Christine McLean
Assistant Professor, Department of Child and Youth Study, Mount Saint Vincent University

Bernice McLeod RECE
Executive Director, Atkinson Centre

Manna Middleton
Chair, Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta

Adrienne Montani
Provincial Coordinator, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition

Joanne Morris
Chair, Early Childhood Educators Human Resource Council, and retired faculty, Early Childhood Education, College of the North Atlantic

Marcello Munro
Owner, WPM Public Affairs

Colette Murphy
CEO, Atkinson Foundation

Sheila Olan-MacLean
CEO, Compass Early Learning and Care and President of the Board, Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

Rowena Pinto
Chief Program Officer, UNICEF Canada

Elisabeth Paul
Director, Policy and Impact, Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology

Alana Powell
Executive Coordinator, Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario

Susan Prentice
Professor of Sociology, University of Manitoba

Angela Regnier
President/Présidente, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women/Institut canadian de recherches sur les femmes

Andrea Reimer
Loeb Fellow, Harvard University, and former Vancouver City Councillor

Maya Roy
CEO, YWCA Canada

Leila Sarangi
National Coordinator, Campaign 2000

Erin Schryer
President and CEO, Origins Natural Learning Childcare

Katherine Scott
Senior Researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Paulette Senior
President and CEO, Canadian Women’s Foundation

Christopher Smith
Steering Committee Member, Community/University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families, University of Alberta

Jim Stanford
Economist and Director, Centre for Future Work

Megan Stephens
Executive Director and General Counsel, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund

Angie Stevenson
Chair, Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association

Eric Swanson
Co-Executive Director, Generation Squeeze

Skye Taylor
Executive Director, Association of Early Childhood Educators of NL

Carole Therrien
Doctoral Researcher, member of The Prosperity Project

Julia Vlad
Portfolio Manager and investor for several funds dedicated to providing positive impact for communities

Linda White
Professor, RBC Chair in Economic and Public Policy and Professor of Political Science, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto

Kathryn Wilkinson
National President, Canadian Federation of University Women

Nancy Wilson
Founder and CEO, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Armine Yalnizyan
Economist, Atkinson Fellow of the Future of Workers

Hassan Yussuff
President, Canadian Labour Congress

about NAWL
The National Association of Women and the Law is a not-for-profit feminist organization that promotes the equality rights of women through legal education, research and law reform advocacy.
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