Excerpts from Introduction
Canadian families are emerging tentatively from the cocoon of lockdown, quarantine, home schooling, remote working, and temporary income support—and are asking what comes next. While governments responded swiftly to support workers, families, and businesses as the pandemic began to take its toll, the response also exposed the stagnant inadequacy Canada’s social infrastructure.
The critical role of school and child care to economic recovery has become glaringly evident to government and the private sector, and Canadian women are facing the unwelcome, decades-old choice of working or staying home, this time with the very real added fear for the health and safety of their families. More than ever, it is time to advance women’s equality along a path toward a universal early-learning and child care system in Canada.
The post-pandemic recovery presents an opportunity for much-needed and fundamental change. Canada requires a comprehensive strategy for economic recovery that helps workers re-establish and maintain attachment to the workforce, ensures adequate income for all, and supports inclusion and gender equity. The federal and provincial/territorial governments have to date demonstrated a remarkable level of cooperation in addressing the pandemic emergency. The time is right for a new era of cooperative federalism that provides the policy framework and stable, ongoing funding arrangements to support families in this emerging, fragile economy and on into the future.