Child care survey results: reopening brings concerns, requires money

Child care providers across Canada are concerned about whether they can afford to re-open their regular programs post-COVID. One third say they don’t know if they’re going to reopen at all.

This is one number from the results of a survey conducted last month by child care advocacy groups. Some of the other findings:

  • Almost three-quarters of child care centres in Canada, and about 40 per cent of regulated family child care, were shut down by COVID-19
  • 70 per cent of the child care centres laid off their workforce during the pandemic.
  • A majority of centres reported they received less government funding than before COVID-19 although some provincial governments continued to provide financial support

“Without proper government funding, providers of child care have been forced to live on the edge and be overly reliant on parent fees for revenue. This left them incredibly vulnerable during the pandemic shutdown,” said the Child Care Research Unit’s Martha Friendly.

Don Giesbrecht, Chief Executive Officer for the Canadian Child Care Federation, said the government must “address the problem of low wages and inadequate compensation, and put in place special funding to make sure that child care facilities are safe for both children and staff.”

The CCCF and the CCRU produced the survey along with Child Care Now.

CCNow’s Morna Ballantyne said she expects the numbers will add weight to our efforts to press governments to support our rescue plan for the early learning and child care sector. She encouraged supporters to endorse the plan.

Ballantyne said the federal government’s offer of $14 billion in new federal transfers to help provinces re-open the economy was an encouraging sign.

“We are very pleased the federal government recognizes there can be no economic recovery without child care, ” she said. “But those federal transfers must be earmarked for additional direct operational funding of child care services.”

A separate report providing data for a more detailed picture will be available next week.