The establishment of a review of the regulated child care sector in the province by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is an indication of the government's willingness to improve the system. Unifor supports the Department's stated goals of the review: to make child care more accessible to families, enhance the quality of child care programs and support the development of the child care workforce. With the recommendations from Unifor and community members across the province, the government has an important opportunity to make lasting changes to the child care sector that will improve the lives of families across the province and strengthen the economy.
The benefits of accessible and high-quality child care are well-documented and broadly accepted in Canada. Accessible child care enables parents to work or get the education and training they need to obtain good jobs. Making child care more affordable opens up additional opportunities for so many families who are struggling to get by, improves women's equality and reduces poverty. High-quality care is crucial to the healthy development and well-being of children under care, including care for children with special needs.
Supporting and developing the child care workforce will result in higher-quality services and a more stable workforce. Living wages for child care providers are spent in the community, resulting in a benefit to the local economy.
Investing in child care stimulates the economy and provides significant socio-economic returns to society. Every $1 spent on child care services increases the GDP by $2.30 - more than in the construction and manufacturing sectors - while every $1 million invested in child care creates up to 40 jobs, expands the provincial tax base and boosts our local communities. Child care is not just an important service that families should have available to them, but is an important economic driver that the province should support.