It's time for child care for all - Des services de garde éducatifs pour tous

How to advocate for child care in the 2021 election 

In this 2021 federal election we must secure the 2021federal budget commitment to a Canada-wide wide system of child care.

Specifically, we must get the political parties and candidates to pledge support, and we must convince voters to vote for child care for all.

Getting engaged in your democracy means getting active in your community – we urge all advocates to observe and support COVID19 safety protocols at all times, and especially when organizing events or carrying out any other campaign activities.

What we want from the political parties and candidates

In this election, we want political parties and candidates to support:

  • building a publicly funded and managed Canada-wide system of universally accessible high-quality, affordable, inclusive early learning and child care

And, specifically:

  • federal spending of $34 billion over the next five years as set out in the 2021 federal budget

  • implementation of the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework Agreement

  • honouring signed child care agreements and reaching similar agreements with the remaining provinces/territories

  • earmarked federal capital funding for the Canada-wide child care system

  • federal child care legislation to strengthen and protect a Canada-wide child care system

Quick background facts

  • the 2021 federal budget allocates $34 billion over the next five years for early learning and child care, including Indigenous early learning and child care
  • the budget commits to a minimum of $9.2 billion annually after 2025-2026
  • eight jurisdictions have signed bilateral agreements with the federal government securing a proportionate share of this funding to:
    • cut parent fees by the end of next year 
    • bring down parent fees to an average minimum of $10 a day
    • improve the wages and working conditions of early childhood educators
    • dramatically increase the number of quality and affordable child care spaces in the public and not for profit sectors child care

To date, agreements have been signed with: Newfoundland/Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon Territory.

How and where to campaign for child care

In Your Community

Create opportunities for conversation in your community: 

    • coffee dates with people in your circles
    • leafleting on the street (mainstreeting)
    • setting up an information tables at events
    • through door-to-door canvassing

Download this “I vote for quality affordable child care for all” window sign

    • download a colour, black and white or “colour in the bubbles” version
    • use it to make a lawn sign

Sign this petition to help build a strong community of child care advocates.

Write letters to the editor. 

    • communicate your personal experience and/or the situation in your communicate
    • say what you expect from candidates and parties 
    • add your name, anonymous letters will not be published
    • letters must be between 200 -250 words in length
    • if your submission is published be sure to share widely on social media (tag #cdnchildcare, @Child_Care_Now) and email it to info@childcarenow.ca

 

Write an Opinion Editorial.

    • the media welcomes free content
    • OpEds should be approximately 650 words in length
    • send to your local paper’s Opinion Editor, or Managing Editor and be sure to follow up within days of submission 
    • use both personal experience and factual content 
    • feel free to use embedded links to other content
    • if your submission is published be sure to share widely on social media (tag #cdnchildcare, @Child_Care_Now) and email it to info@childcarenow.ca

At Candidate Forums (in-person and on-line)

  • attend and be prepared to ask your local candidates if they will support what we want from candidates (see above), and what action their party is proposing to take on child care 
  • write down your questions in advance
  • understand each candidate’s party platform prior to the event

On Social Media

Take the voter pledge and share it on social media.

  • take a photo of the pledge and share with a personal statement like “I live in Ottawa-Centre and I will be voting for universal child care!”
  • encourage others on social media to take the pledge too
  • put the pledge on your mailbox or window

Ask your local candidates to take the Candidate Pledge, document with a photo and share widely on social media, include a personal message with your post about your riding and the specific candidate.

Tag candidates, political parties, political party leaders and interested journalists

  • use hashtags to have your message appear in more places. We suggest: 

               #Elxn44

               #CdnChildCare

               #VOTEchildcare4all

               #ChildCarePledge

  • don’t forget to tag us:

               Facebook: @childcarenowcanada 

               Twitter: @child_care_now 

               Instagram: @child_care_now

Candidate contact

All the political parties have said in one way or another that they support child care. However, not all parties (nor all candidates) share our view that the federal government must take leadership and allocate significant funds to build a high quality child care system so that ALL children have access to, and are included in, high quality, regulated and licensed child care programs. Try to make contact with the candidates in your riding(s) and ask them to pledge support for child care.  Meet with each candidate in person or by phone. If that is not possible, write to them. If a candidate will meet, bring others including representatives of supportive organizations. 

Ask the candidate to take our child care pledge

  1. if the candidate agrees to the candidate pledge, post a photo of the candidate pledge  on social media adding a message with the candidate’s name, riding, political party and any other important information. Make sure you tag the candidate, the political party, and the other candidates in the riding
  2. if the candidate DOES NOT sign, post this picture of the pledge with a big X over it and on social media of the photo, add a message with the candidate’s name, riding, political party and any other information.  Make sure you tag the candidate, the political party, and the other candidates in the riding

In either case, don’t forget to tag: 

And use the hashtags:

  • #Elxn44
  • #CdnChildCare
  • #VOTEchildcare4all
  • #ChildCarePledge

What to say when you campaign for child care

  1. Start by explaining why building a child care system matters to you. If you have one, share a personal story about yourself, or a family member who had difficulty finding licensed child care due to cost, availability, needs.
  2. Share information you have on the child care situation in the community. For example, almost everywhere in Canada (outside of Quebec) parent fees are very high and unaffordable. Too many parents–and especially mothers–have been forced to make the difficult choice of leaving the paid labour force or their studies because they can’t pay the fees–this is especially true of lower-income earners. 
  3. Also, there is not enough regulated licensed child care. That means, parents are forced to choose unregulated, informal or unlicensed child care arrangements. 
  4. We have a child care workforce crisis in Canada, where low wages, poor retention rates, and obstacles to training and recruitment stand in the way of quality and space expansion.
  5. All of the problems identified above are even worse for the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. This is why it is essential that federal support for the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework Agreement must continue. Through this framework agreement, the federal government in partnership with Indigenous governments, communities, child care providers and others is providing essential funding for more and better programs for Indigenous children wherever they live. 
  6. Only a publicly-funded universal system of early learning and child care can address the very long-standing problems of access, affordability and quality. The federal government has started this ambitious project; we want to see it continue. 

Some messages you can convey

  • it takes a long-term, phased approach, and significant public spending to build the universal child care system Canada needs; the federal plan set out in the 2021 federal budget, which was adopted by Parliament, must continue
  • giving parents financial assistance through tax rebates of one kind or another will not increase the supply of high quality flexible child care programs nor will rebates bring down parents fees or address the very low wages and difficult working conditions of early childhood educators; it is the lack of available affordable high quality child care (made worse by the shortages of qualified early childhood educators) that limits parents child care options
  • there is overwhelming evidence from Canada and around the world that publicly-funded high quality child care serves as an essential bridge to the paid labour force for mothers with young children; when governments build a robust and reliable publicly-funded  child care bridge, female labour force participation rises, families end up better off through higher household income, and the whole economy is made stronger
  • quality child care programs are essential for the well-being of children and their development and only a publicly funded and managed system can ensure that child care programs are good programs
  • making affordable, high-quality child care available to all families will grow the economy, promote gender equality, increase women’s labour force participation and enhance children’s well-being
  • the current patchwork of child care programs and services across the country doesn’t work for families. High fees and hard-to-find care strains household budgets and keeps women out of the paid workforce
  • much like schools and hospitals, a child care system needs direct public funding to work
  • finding safe, affordable child care shouldn’t be a matter of luck. Providing high quality, affordable, inclusive programs should be a government responsibility
  • building a child care system would benefit many more families in many more ways than subsidies ever could
  • public investment in a national child care system pays for itself, and creates a more equal society and a more sustainable economy

A message you might hear when you campaign

“Why should I pay for someone else’s childcare?” We know from research that universal child care benefits the health and well-being of children, as well as the economic security of parents, especially mothers, and that it also has far-reaching economic benefits everyone enjoys including job creation, higher levels of employment, and economic growth.  Just like all Canadians contribute to the costs of public education, health care, Old Age Security, roads and other infrastructure, so too should they contribute to early childhood education. It is much more efficient for governments to provide these kinds of social infrastructure programs than it is for individuals to figure it out for themselves. Also, only governments can ensure that such programs are equitably accessible and available to all in Canada.  We know, again from research, that when a child care system is publicly funded and universally accessible the economic returns are far greater than the cost of funding the system.

What to keep in mind if you meet with Conservative candidates and their supporters

Federal Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole has said his party, if elected, will cancel the federal plan to build a system of early learning and child care. He said he would cancel the agreements that the federal government has already reached with 7 provinces and the Yukon Territory ending their plans to cut parent fees to $10 a day, and dramatically increase the number of regulated child care spaces. Also, the Conservative Party has said it will eliminate the existing federal child care tax exemption (that allows parents to deduct from their taxable income part of what they spend on child care). In its place, the Conservatives propose to introduce a refundable tax credit that would allow families with incomes less than $150,000 a year to get a refund from the federal government for part of their child care expenses.

It is unlikely Conservative party candidates will take our pledge to support child care. However, this is your chance to explain to the candidates that cancelling the federal program will be bad for families, eliminate parental choice, and prove to be a very bad move for economic recovery. Also, you can say that a refundable tax credit will not make child care more affordable. Only very low-income families will get the maximum tax refund and it will not be sufficient to pay for regulated child care. Conservatives are much more likely to be concerned about arguments that touch on “family values,” “parental choice,” “economic recovery,” and “affordability.”

Get out there and campaign

Have fun 

Democracy is a muscle that must be exercised!