Lack Of Child Care Hurting Canada Economically

The lack of a comprehensive child care strategy is hurting Canada economically, states a new report released by the YWCA entitled Educated, Employed and Equal: The economic prosperity case for national child care.

The report documents the changing face of women’s participation in the workforce over the last 30 years. In 1976, 37% of the total employed in Canada were women compared to 47% in 2006, with the number surpassing 50% several times in the last few years. Further, more women are now graduating from University, with recent numbers showing fully 60% of all university graduates are female.

However, during that time women have still borne the majority of the child care burden. Consider that women with children are in the workforce at an unprecedented rate: In 1976, 27% of women with infants and toddlers were in the workforce; in 2009 that number had risen to 64%. Once their children reach school age, the number of women with children in the workforce jumps significantly to 78%, indicating that having reliable and safe child care alternatives is affecting mothers’ participation in the workforce.  Studies have also shown that women with young children cite child care difficulties as being a primary reason why they are not participating fully in the workforce.

The report makes it clear: This highly-educated, highly-motivated segment of the population is being limited from participation in the workforce by child care issues. In order to take advantage of this segment, either men will need to participate more actively in child care or Canada needs to rethink its entire approach to the provision of child care.

Far from being a drain on the system, studies show that quality child care is a benefit to society overall in that it causes children to develop an early proclivity for learning, it supports the social and economica needs of families (such as the desire to have both parents working full time) and reduces child poverty.

“A national plan to ensure comprehensive access to quality, affordable early learning and child care services is not a luxury, a frill or a threat to Canadian families,” the report concludes.

“It is essential to Canadian prosperity, a crucial support for children and parents and should become as normalized in our social structure as the public school system as a choice for parents.”

However, the recommendation would face plenty of backlash among the public, many of whom believe having children is a “lifestyle choice” that shouldn’t be subsidized by other taxpayers. It remains to be seen if those taxpayers’ opinions will change when they are looking to draw their Canada Pension, whose funding is sustained by the active workforce.

 

Acton Green: Playground Area (Pam Brophy) / CC BY-SA 2.0

64 comments

Shannon B.
Shannon B4 years ago

Child's care or day care are said to be the most flourishing business under current scenario, where people are entrusted to nurtures kids properly if the parents are working, it rather helps from economic point of view of the family. I believe those mother who left job due to kids at home, can plan a good business deal here by opening a licensed day care center from financial perspective as well as better child's development too.

SEND
jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago

took them this long to realize someone has to care for the children. Today both parents have to work to make ends meet. Where are the children when parents work?? Child care should be a priority.

SEND
Nancy W.
Nancy W6 years ago

How can communities and societies go wrong who support children and not benefit totally from less health issues, more confident and emotionally intelligent children who can give back to society in bigger innovative ways. Outside of the biological family participation in a child's life as a positive role model gives them another mirror and other measure of self worth, that can only benefit everyone as a whole. They are the backbone of the future, the stronger the support, the stronger the backbone to pull through difficult times, disease and social issues with innovation and creativity. Its stress for families who have been conditioned to go it alone mothers are particularily prone to depression and stresses and need the extra care and time to rejuvinate as the work of child care can be non stop 24-7 demand on several levels. Its not easy to raise kids and society has been neglectful/absent in some respects especially as some of the funding is being pulled/stolen by careless government systems that spend tax dollars recklessly then make excuses to pull more money from schools hospitals libraries etc. ad-nauseum. I see it as a deconstruction of free societies as the polititians focus more on corporate interests.

SEND
Maira Sun
Maira Sun6 years ago

GRACIAS!

SEND
Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

It is a worrisome problem that it takes two incomes (and then some) to be able to survive. We've already reached the point where it's almost impossible for a single parent to raise a child, and now also it's very hard for a two income family. Soon we'll reach the point where one person alone, won't be able to support themselves at all. It'll take 1 person working 2 jobs to support themselves and I'm sure that's already going on as we speak.

SEND
Jane R.
Jane R6 years ago

Sad that it takes two to support a family these days.

SEND
Shannon V.
Shannon V6 years ago

Interesting reading - there are so many issues here. Certainly seems to vary from country to country.

SEND
Myriam Garcon
Myriam G6 years ago

(continued)
I would have hated to give up my job completely, my job that I worked so hard at creating, when I had my children. I was lucky that I could take fewer, less complicated contracts while they were infants, and then resume my professional activities once they join daycare. If women gave up their jobs until all their children were old enough for school, then working mothers would tend to have less interesting, less paying jobs than men or women with no children. But, what about our daughters?!? Wouldn’t we be telling them: you can grow up to be either a successful working woman, or a mom with a somewhat boring job, but not both? I’m glad my older daughter sees that I created a good job for myself, and is proud of what I accomplished, while she was at daycare.

Oh! I almost forgot to say: my mom worked as a teacher when I was small, so I went to a private daycare myself (there were no government-subsidized places back then). Yes, I’ve been there before! I love my Mom, and I’m as proud of her as (I hope) my daughters will be proud of me, someday.

SEND
Myriam Garcon
Myriam G6 years ago

In Québec, we have government-subsidized daycare (not expensive) AND private daycare (more expensive). Most parents choose government-subsidized places. The workers are qualified, dedicated people. These places are regularly inspected, both for safety and for educational content. The parents trust them. Of course, some will point out that the situation’s not perfect: though a rarity, inspectors have found a few cases of neglect. The guilty places closed. The thing is, at least there ARE inspectors and means of making sure children are well cared for at every moment, which is not always the case with nannies and people that privately care for children of others in their home, without official permit or anything.

My 3 children went to subsidized daycare. They loved their educator, made friends, learned a lot, went outside daily, went on field trips, did various forms of art, and were happy to come back home, with lots of things to tell us. I work from home, but I can’t concentrate on my job AND take care of a small child at the same time. So, after they’re 18 months old, they join daycare. All 3 of them loved it, and were happy to go there every morning.

SEND
ana p.
ana p6 years ago

SOME COMMENTS HERE MAKE ME WANT TO TROW UP!
MAYBE BECAUSE I'M EUROPEAN - IT'S UNTHINKABLE HERE THAT A WOMAN HAD TO STAY HOME TO TAKE CARE OF THE CHILDREN....PERHAPS BECAUSE WE HAVE HEALTH CARE?! ...MAYBE THAT'S WHY SO MANY AMERICANS ARE AFRAID OR EVEN AGAINST IT : BECAUSE IT ALOWS WOMEN TO WORK OUTSIDE AND STILL BE VERY GOOD MOTHERS AND THE CHILDREN ARE HEALTHY.............SO, NO EXCUSES TO PUT MAMAS JAILED AT HOME, DEPENDING ENTIRELY ON MEN AND ALSO MEN ARE AFRAID OF FEMALE COMPETITION!
ECONOMICALLY, TWO INCOMES ARE BETTER THAN ONE....
WE (IN EUROPE) STILL HAVE LESS DIVORCES THAT IN AMERICA (SO IT'S NOT BETTER THAT WOMEN STAY HOME)
WE HAVE LESS CHILDREN....SO WE HAVE LESS EXPENSE AND MORE TIME FOR THEM...
I'M NOT SAYING THAT WE ARE BETTER PERSONS - ONLY THAT IT'S A BETTER SYSTEM WHEN WE HAVE HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE.
NO MAN HERE WANT'S HIS WIFE AT HOME BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT'S NOT HEALTHY FOR THE MARRIAGE, THE CHILDREN OR THE SOCIETY!

SEND