This paper was written as background for the Inclusive child care for all project. This project, led by partners Oxfam Canada, Child Care Now and the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, aims to address barriers to access to regulated child care experienced by newcomers to Canada, racialized women and women with disabilities. The project also aims to increase the participation of under-represented groups of women in child care advocacy. The paper is intended to help inform the project, as well as being a resource on this policy issue.
It sets out to address two main research questions:
- Which groups of women are under-represented in regulated early learning and child care?
- What barriers do they face to more equitable representation?
The paper outlines the current context in which a historic government commitment to transform Canada’s child care market to a universal system is underway. It includes a scan of available data, a literature review and current provincial/territorial commitments to equity and inclusion. The research and project activities including a Summit on the issue corroborate that marginalized groups of women experience substantial barriers to equitable access to regulated child care. The paper recommends addressing these by considering a multi-layered framework focused on equitable access and a Canadian road map for building a universal child care system. The authors suggest the value of strengthened, more diverse advocacy, better research and data and more definitive policy making. With these, Canada is positioned to implement a more equitable, accessible child care system.
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