On International Women’s Day we celebrate women’s achievements and also reflect on the barriers to equality that still remain in place. With a federal election on its way, this year the Canadian Labour Congress is focusing on the struggle to access quality child care for all families across Canada.
Together with child care advocates, the CLC will participate in a week of action from May 10 to 17, 2015, holding events across the country to celebrate child care as a public good and calling for a system that will provide all families with high quality care they can afford. We want the federal government to commit to funding and to working with the provinces to create a national child care system.
The labour movement has been a longtime advocate for child care because we know everyone benefits when parents can go to work knowing their kids are safe and well cared for. For two years we’ve been holding conversations with our members about their child care struggles, so we know the challenging realities of today’s families.
The economic benefits of child care are well-established, or as the TD Bank stated, “Unquestionable”. According to their report, “Ultimately, investment in early education can help to address core economic and social challenges facing Canada. It can help reduce poverty, address skills shortages, and improve productivity and innovation, and a host of other national priorities”.
Child care helps make women available for work, education and training. We have seen the success of Quebec’s child care system, which saw substantial increases in women’s participation in paid work as well as a reduction in poverty rates. Quebec has also shown us that money spent on child care pays for itself in increased tax revenue and other socio-economic benefits.
Canada’s labour movement has made many gains for working women – gains we celebrate on International Women’s Day. From maternity and parental leave to public pensions, from equal pay to workplace safety legislation, we have led the way for better, fairer workplaces for all women in Canada. Now we are calling for a national child care system so all parents can count on quality child care.