Excerpted from the introduction
In 25 years of Alternative Federal Budgets, this edition of the AFB stands out: reflecting a chapter of history as it is unfolding, in real time, in the middle of a global pandemic.
Future generations will look back at 2020 as a critical turning point, a year in which the systems that sustain our societies were put on trial— and, in many cases, failed. Everything that comes next will be influenced by this moment. And in this moment we have choices about where we go from here.
COVID-19 ground the world’s economy to a halt as countries shut down to prevent the pandemic’s spread. Planes no longer flew overhead. Global supply chains stalled then reconfigured. Greenhouse gas emissions dropped, at least temporarily, highlighting the irrefutable link between how we live and climate change. Most importantly, billions of lives have been disrupted, more than half a million lives lost.
Excerpted from the Child care chapter
Never has child care been more vulnerable—and more essential.
It has taken a public health crisis for the essential role of early learning and child care to be widely recognized, and for the fragility of Canada’s provision to be laid bare.
Early learning and child care in Canada was fragile before the pandemic hit because it is market-based, fragmented, and under-funded. Most licensed programs primarily rely on parent fee revenue.
The predominantly female workforce earns low wages and any raise in compensation translates into higher parent fees, as do any other quality improvements. As a result, recruitment and retention of qualified early childhood educators is a perpetual serious concern.