As of March 28th, 2022, every province and territory in Canada has signed onto the federal government’s $10-a-day child-care program. Affordable child-care is an essential step towards the realization of people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and a move towards achieving reproductive justice. Child-care costs can factor into people’s decisions about whether or not to have children, and the ability to raise children in sustainable and safe environments.
In 2021, monthly child-care fees ranged from $451 in Winnipeg to upwards of $1,866 in Toronto. The federal government’s $10-a-day child-care program will alleviate the economic burden of child-care disproportionately faced by low income individuals and their families, and will ultimately lead to social and economic gains that benefit everyone.
Affordable quality child-care can help remove barriers parents face when returning to the workforce. This often has gender, class, and race implications as women and femmes are more often those who exit the workforce to care for children. Affordable quality childcare can also contribute to gender equality by reducing the amount of unpaid care work often shouldered by women and femme parents.
Child-care is critical work. While we welcome this move to improve its affordability, we also call for living wages for child-care workers, the large majority of whom are women, immigrants, and non-permanent residents, and who on average earn less than half the income of all other workers. Full and permanent immigration status must also be given to migrant child-care workers, who are overrepresented in the industry and are vulnerable to wage theft and exploitation.
Childcare measures that support both those with children and child-care workers lead to better outcomes for everyone. We welcome the nation-wide $10-a-day child-care program and urge governments to adopt future measures that will ensure child-care workers are protected and fairly compensated as part of ongoing efforts toward affordable, quality child-care across Canada.