Canada’s care economy has been pushed to its limit during the pandemic.
Decades of underspending have left care sectors – including child care – in a state of disorder, with caregivers overwhelmed and ever more people in need of quality care. Repeated lockdowns had a profound impact on families’ heavy unpaid household care responsibilities, which disproportionately fell on women. Even before the pandemic, 42% of women of working age globally said they were unable to do paid work because of their unpaid care and domestic work responsibilities – compared to just 6% of men. Investing in affordable, accessible and inclusive child care is paramount to ensuring a just pandemic recovery.
In 2021, following years of advocacy by the child care movement, the Federal Government committed to building a pan-Canadian early learning and child care (ELCC) system and invested $30 billion. All provinces and territories now have agreements in place that allow the transfer of funds and set out guidelines for the reduction of child care fees with a target of $10/day.
Large gaps in data analyzing the particular challenges faced by racialized women in accessing child care both before and during COVID, combined with the complexity of considering how a policy affects everyone differently, leaves a high probability of the most marginalized women slipping through the cracks of this new child care system.
Since provinces are now putting together their plans for improving accessibility and affordability while working towards building a child care system, it is critical to bring the voices of underrepresented women and gender-diverse people to the forefront of policy discussions.
The Inclusive Childcare for All project will support increased engagement in policy conversations from diverse communities and support the childcare movement to grow as a diverse and feminist network.
The average cost of child care in Ontario is $1,600 per month, which is the highest in the country.
In Canada, women spend twice as much time on care than men.
Just over half of immigrant parents and non-permanent resident parents report using child care, compared to 69% of Canadian-born parents.
Early Childhood Educators are severely underpaid and still earn the lowest wages in the country ($16.05).
Child Care Resource and Research Unit
Child Care Now
Thanks to our Supporters:
Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) Canada and the generous Canadian public
What are we doing?
We will build policy proposals to address barriers to inclusive access to licensed child care programs.
We will publish research that identifies and unpacks the barriers to equitable and inclusive access to child care.
We will support communities and child care champions to move the needle on the policy changes needed in early learning systems.
What do we hope to achieve?
The project will build policy solutions that represent the needs of diverse communities and build an inclusive network of early learning and childcare advocates to move these policies forward.
This bilingual pan-Canadian project will help advance policy changes to increase access of underrepresented groups to early learning and child care (ELCC).
Oxfam Canada will achieve this by engaging underrepresented women living in the Atlantic, Ontario, Prairies and Pacific regions of Canada, to inform and develop pandemic recovery responses that address intersectional barriers to ELCC accessibility, affordability, quality and inclusiveness.
In partnership with Child Care Now and Child Care Resource and Research Unit, Oxfam will help connect equality-seeking organizations and other stakeholders to collaborate across sectors to advance underrepresented women's engagement in ELCC advocacy networks.
Oxfam Canada will develop and disseminate advocacy tools within these networks and launch community-based public communication tools and resources. We will also organize mobilization moments to effectively advance ELCC policy solutions that are inclusive and address the barriers faced by underrepresented women.