A new publication released this week by the Child Care Resource and Research Unit, and partially funded by CUPE National, provides governments with the dos and don’ts when building a universal child care program. The researchers drew on previous studies both within Canada and internationally and concluded that the best way for Canada to build an affordable, accessible, inclusive, flexible, equitable, and quality early learning and child care system was to do so through public ownership, public management, and public funds.

This report comes on the heels of the federal government’s announcement in Budget 2021 that they would be creating and funding a universal child care system in partnership with the provinces and territories. Quebec and Indigenous communities will be given financial support to build-on their existing systems.

The report also stresses the importance of decent wages for child care workers. The quality of child care relies heavily on the decent wages of workers. Currently, Canada is experiencing a severe shortage of child care workers, and in order to attract and retain workers, we must value them and the work that they do. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that educating our youngest learners is one of the most essential services – and compensation should reflect that.

The report leaves the government with a three-part plan:

  1. Maintain and fund the existing supply of licensed child care
  2. Ensure more vigorous, publicly managed regulation including wage scales that ensure decent compensation for workers
  3. All future expansion of the supply of child care services must be public and non-profit

CUPE would like to congratulate the authors of this study on this timely and important work, and looks forward to working with governments at all levels to build a high-quality, universal child care system that supports children, families, and workers. 

You can read the full report here (English only).