Take One Minute to Tell your Story

Help get more money in the federal budget for child care

Frustrated by the high cost of child care? Tired of limited options? Worried about the state of child care in our country? You’re not alone. The Standing Committee on Finance is visiting communities for open Pre-Budget Consultations to find out the priorities of Canadians like you. Take this opportunity to tell them your child care story and ensure the federal government knows that affordable, accessible, inclusive child care is your concern.

Participants will have one minute to speak to the committee, on a “first come, first speak” basis. Be creative: tell a personal story, hold a sign or wear a t-shirt, bring your children, share the microphone with your coworkers, friends and neighbours – after all, child care affects all of us.

Did you know?

  • Many Canadians spend almost ¼ of their income on child care
  • When it comes to child care funding, Canada spends less than 34 other industrialized countries
  • A middle-income Toronto family with an infant and three-year old child must pay $36,000 a year for a regulated child care spot – if they can get one

What can be done?

Tell the Federal Government its annual funding commitment for early learning and child care over the next eleven years is not enough. We need more money in future budgets, starting in 2018. Future federal/provincial/territorial child care funding agreements must transform the child care system:

  • Replace parent-fee subsidy systems with full direct public funding of child care services
  • Affordable fees, geared to income with a cap
  • Expand availability: a publicly managed plan to grow the public and non-profit sectors
  • End crisis in recruitment and retention of staff: professional pay, decent working conditions and training and development

Scheduled meetings in your city

  • 3 October: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • 4 October: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 5 October: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • 6 October: Calgary, Alberta
  • 16 October: St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • 17 October: Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 18 October: Montreal, Quebec
  • 19 October: Windsor, Ontario
  • 20 October: Toronto, Ontario

Looking to lead a group? Contact the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada for key facts and information by email or at (613) 212-0065, Toll free: (866) 620-2753.

Pledge your support to end the child care crisis in Canada, visit childcareforall.ca

11 thoughts on “Take One Minute to Tell your Story

  1. Due to the high cost of child care I was unable to work full time until both children were in school . Even now it’s unreliable and not user friendly for shift workers (healthcare workers) , then you hear the statement ” they’ve been doing it for years ” but at what sacrifice to the children. Shuffled around from one sitter to the next in one day? We need reliable affordable childcare and we need it yesterday!

  2. I would love to come to the meeting in Saskatoon, but because it is during the week, I won’t be able to attend. I am an assistant director in an Early Learning Child Care Centre in Swift Current, Sk. We are running a deficit due to staffing costs. If I took a day off from work to advocate for more funding for Child Care, my centre would not be able to maintain the proper staff/child ratios and our license to operate would be at risk.

    There are so many things that I’d like to advocate for, but I will focus on staffing for now.

    Staff absences: We try to staff to enhance the ratios. On days where staff are all present, we run a wonderful operation with child-led programming. Our staff have opportunities to prep and scaffold on children’s interests. They have time to make personal connections with children and help them regulate those “big emotions”. On days that one or two staff are away (they do tend to catch every bug and deserve holidays!) and in order to maintain ratios, we have situations where a group of children are waiting in the bathroom while the teacher tries to maintain a potty training schedule or help a child through a bout of constipation. A director has to work on the floor to maintain ratios and leave the admin work for another day, perhaps on her own time, and either earn overtime ( a hit to the budget) or just do it and not ask for compensation. (forget time off in lieu of overtime – we need all hands on deck!) Planned excursions are cancelled. Children may have to be re-arranged in with another group of children. Staffing absences are a headache to everyone. Many dedicated staff come to work when they are sick because they know the struggle to get through the day without them. Their symptoms linger because they don’t stay home and rest. We need a solution so the quality of care we offer doesn’t change on days when staff are absent. We cannot afford to maintain a teacher sub list and pay anyone willing to come in and cover shifts.

    Staff education: Our provincial regulations state that staff must be taking classes to earn their ECE levels. If they do not have any education, they cannot work more than 65 hours a month. Many of our staff are motivated to take night classes and online classes. However, this costs money! We cannot afford to pay our staff a decent wage so that they can easily manage the cost of taking classes and buying the books. It is a catch 22 that creates a lot of stress on our teachers, that already work full time and devote a lot of energy to the daily routine.

    Staff wages: We give raises to the staff as they earn their ECE levels. Then we run into situations where everyone’s pay is going up and the only recourse we have is to raise parent fees or lay off higher paid staff and hire new staff who are just starting to earn their levels. If we raise parent fees, we run the risk of having families withdraw because they cannot afford our care and they don’t qualify for subsidy. Now their children are in unlicensed unregulated care.

    We need direct funding from the government that helps with staffing costs. We need a pay scale that attracts and retains the best candidates for teaching young children. We need funding so that we can improve working conditions for our dedicated staff. Burn out and turnover are high. We are constantly going through the process of interviewing, hiring, training, coaching, assisting them in registering staff in ECE classes, only to have them leave 1 year later or sooner. This takes up so much administration time, creating stress for Directors.

  3. As an RECE and mother of four young adult children I am so grateful and fortunate that when my children were young I had access to high quality, licensed subsidized child care so that I was able to adequately provide for them as a single mother. Sadly, until the Provincial government commits to licensed, universal and accessible high quality child care our youngest and most vulnerable will continue to be at risk in unregulated care. In the GTA alone the majority of families cannot afford or access licensed child care where the health and safety of children is paramount. They have no choice but to leave their children in the care of unregulated providers who are not monitored and do not adhere to the strict regulations of licensed child care. All levels of government MUST step up to the plate and commit to providing families a safe environment for their children so that they can work or attend school. Regulated quality child care is not a luxury it is a necessity!

    Amy O’Neil, B.A., RECE

  4. The story I have to share is heartbreaking and devastating.
    One family at the child care where I work is faced with the death of their parent, with the cost of child care the children are being withdrawn from care due to the cost of child care, if there was universal or free child care because I feel that child care should be the highest priority for all children, back to my story,, if child care was affordable, the children would remain in childcare where they belong to support them through this difficult time, child care workers are like extended family, children and families depend on child care workers and a place where the children feel a sense of belonging. The decision to offer free child care should be the highest priority for the future of all children.

  5. While I was in high school, my sister had her first child. She was a single mom, living at home with myself, my younger sister and our parents. Our parents worked full time, and my younger sister and I were full time high school students. With little help, my sister had no choice but to go back to work to attempt to start a life with her new little one. Unfortunately due to the high cost of the daycare in our area, and lack of quality, regulated day homes, my younger sister and I had to often leave school early to help watch my nephew. This caused a strain on our entire family. Not only did my older sister feel bad, our schooling suffered due to its straining, always changing hours. Back then I of course had ill feelings towards her, constantly having to sacrifice my time to help, but as I’ve grown older, and will soon have to work out child care for myself, I can sympathize with her. She works very hard, and is often left short of a lot of the childcare necessities her son requires.

  6. Affordable child care is a must need in Canada! Becoming an early childhood educator it is my duty to provide my skills and knowledge about children and educating them to reach their full potential everyday and it breaks my heart to hear stories that parents have to give up their income because they cannot afford to put their youngsters into programs they trust to educate them while they work to provide simply because of the fees we are currently charging per child. It is outrageous! I believe that children deserve education. Simple as that. Parents and guardians shouldn’t be taking their young children out of preschool programs simply because they are non affordable. Children cannot speak for themselves about these issues so it is our duty as parents, teachers and a country to make sure our future is educated properly! My boyfriend right now has 2 young kids that have been in and out of daycare’s due to us having to work full time jobs in order to pay the bills. We have had to leave an excellent daycare due to the fact that they were charging over 1000$ a month for our kids to go there in Edmonton. The kids were heartbroken to have to leave their friends, but in order to keep putting food on our table and heat throughout our house we had to do what we had to do. I now don’t work and am a full time student receiving my early childhood education certificate so I can learn how to provide proper affordable education for not only my kids, but potentially others as well!

  7. Personally, I grew up loving that I had the ability to work with young children as I found them to be very fascinating and of course so cute. Having older sisters there was often young moms around that needed childcare for their little ones but could not afford to put them in daycare. So, at a very young age of just 12 years old I was providing childcare. By the time I was 16 years old I was spending my summers as a full-time nanny of three children. This was a great opportunity for myself as I was able to make some money to help put food on my own table as my mother was a single mother of three girls and my sibling’s fathers were not in their lives to help at all. I was proving childcare for a mom who needed to work fulltime and proving it at an affordable rate as I was only 16 and looking to make a little bit of money. As I got older my love for working with children only grew stronger and I continued to offer affordable childcare for many different families. It was clear that each family I worked for could not afford to put their children in a daycare so to them I was the next best thing. Although I was providing these children with safe, fun, loving and affordable childcare I do believe they could have benefited more from a childcare facility that would further educate them. I was only a teenager myself and did not have the education that is needed to provide the best quality childcare these families deserve. After high school, I started working in daycare facilities and even coordinated an after school program and quickly learnt how much these places had to offer… if only they were made affordable to all families. I then decided that I wanted to go to school to get a diploma in ELCC in efforts to one day open up my own facility where I have the ability to offer quality childcare at affordable rates.

  8. When I was growing up I always watched the neighbours kids when they were are work. I grow up liking kids and was always really good at watching them. Years later I had my first child at the time I didn’t have to go to work for there wasn’t a need to, then my second kid came around a year and a half later and still don’t need to go back to work, but things happen in life and I ended up being a single mother, I realized then that I needed to go back to work. At this time my oldest was just starting school, so it wasn’t to bad but then the problem came of how much it would cost, and location, were I live there isn’t anything for child care the nearest place is an hour drive away. Now with three kids and a husband I still need to go to work so we can support everyone, so I decided to become an early learning childcare so that I can have a day home that’s in this area that doesn’t have a place for child care and have it affordable to help out people who are not able to because I know what its like, an be able to offer anytime too because not everyone has a 9-5 job.

  9. My name is Jody I’m an ELCC worker/mother. I work in the ELCC field. Working in the ELCC field is a high demanding job title. My opinion is if there was more money in the federal budget maybe most daycares wouldn’t be short staff on a daily bases. Yes we as ELCC workers do have families and lives outside our jobs just like everyone else does, but when one staff is missing it effects the whole daycare and also the children to. Staff have to be shuffled around to make staff/child ratios. Staff is just meeting ratio so sometimes when we are short staff the cleaning, planning or activity are not getting done. Children don’t get the most of the attention they should be getting when all staff are present in the room. This is when most of the incidents happen like biting, fighting or other incidents.

  10. My Story
    As a single mother, I had no choice but to leave my child with family, so this was my son’s early years (baby to school aged) at the time. To earn a bit of money, I had to look for an evening job and not a day job because I couldn’t afford childcare. After school, my sisters would help by watching my son while I worked as a janitor every evening for 3 hours. It wasn’t much pay but I had help financially by my dad. I did this job until my son was able to attend school regularly and so I, too, was able to attend our local college. This was over 20 years ago and childcare is still expensive. This is so sad and it’s unfair for all children and their families. Had there been affordable childcare, I would have gone back to school sooner but most importantly, my son would have benefited a lot just by attending a High-Quality Childcare. So, the government should provide more help to all families that can access affordable High-Quality Childcare. This should be a necessity! I am hoping by the time my son has kids there will be affordable childcare.

    Donna C

  11. I am a mother of 3 children and I am currently enrolled in the ECC certificate program. All 3 of my children have been enrolled in our preschool. There is only one preschool in our small town. The children that attend our preschool go 3 days a week for 3 hours a day. The cost is $80.00 per month. The cost is very low compared to other towns and cities, however; in order to have costs low parents need to do a great deal of volunteering. They are required to sell 50/50 tickets twice a year, participate in preparing and hosting a town event (some years two events are needed), bottle drives, selling chocolates, etc. They are also required to do one to two parent helper shifts per month. If you are unable to do your shift and you are unable to find someone willing to switch shifts with you, you are expected to pay someone to do your shift. The cost is $25.00 a shift. In some instances, where the helper doesn’t show up, class has to be cancelled and the children suffer. Our preschool board is run by local parents. All the volunteer work that is required by parents puts a lot of pressure on them. There are some parents who work, or have other children at home. These parents are unable to meet the volunteer requirements for our preschool. The amount of time, energy, and cost parents put into their child’s early education in order to keep costs low, has reduced the enrolment of children in our preschool. This is because parents are not able to keep up with the preschool needs. Our pre-school needs more funding. Funding will lower the cost to the parent. With lower costs and less demand, parents and children can enjoy early education.

    Let parents enjoy their children’s childhood with them. As parents we want to spend LESS time volunteering and more time with our children.

    I understand we need volunteers to strengthen organizations. Volunteering is important and has positive benefits. However, when it puts stress on the parents and family we need to look at other options. We can either increase the childcare fee or let the government know of our concern. We need more funding.

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