Excerpted from Child care advocates forge a path forward for child care in Saskatchewan
Major child care organizations in Saskatchewan have released a policy Roadmap for achieving a universal, equitable and accessible system of early learning and child care (ELCC) in the province.
The Canadian Child Care Federation and its Saskatchewan Leaders’ Caucus, Child Care Now and its Saskatchewan Chapter, the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association (SECA) and the Muttart Foundation drafted the Roadmap in recognition that the ELCC agreement between the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan signed in July, 2021 is only a first step to transforming how programs are funded and delivered in the province. The Roadmap, which was drafted after extensive consultations with provincial groups representing a diverse cross-section of the economy and population, advances policy options for expanding the number of regulated child care programs, improving the quality of programs, and making them affordable to better meet the needs of children and their families across the province.
The Roadmap says the very significant federal ELCC funds that are being transferred to Saskatcewan, and the federal government’s own vision for the future of child care, provides the opportunity to replace the current market-based approach to the supply and purchase of child care services with a publicly funded and publicly managed system of ELCC. Adequate public funding and proper public management of supply, which exists for public education, health services and other essential public services, is the only way to eliminate child care deserts, bring parent fees down, guarantee inclusion of all children, and provide proper compensation for those who work in the sector.
The organizations that drafted the Roadmap will work together to distribute the document, educate the people of Saskatchewan about the problems with how child care is now organized, and build popular support for big changes over the coming months and years.