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About the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

The Childcare Resource and Research Unit is an early childhood education and child care (ECEC) policy research institute with a mandate to further ECEC policy and programs in Canada.

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New parents and child care survey 20 Jan 2017 | Canada
The Childcare Resource and Research Unit is conducting a survey of parents and parents-to-be across Canada who are (or whose partner is) expecting a baby or on paid or unpaid maternity/parental leave. We are studying how parents make plans for child care to help develop strategies for helping families find child care arrangements. This anonymous survey should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete. Please help us to circulate the survey, either by passing it on yourself to appropriate individuals or groups, through social media, by putting a link to it on your website or in a newsletter, or through other means. Please find links to the questionnaire, available in English and French, on this page as well as attached survey logos that can be used in your outreach strategies.
Federal budget 2017: Building a strong middle class 22 Mar 2017 | Canada
Justin Trudeau's government released its second federal budget, Building a Strong Middle Class today. Long-term child care spending was outlined in the budget. It allocates $7 billion for child care over ten years, increasing funding by $5 million between 2018-2019 and 2020-2021, with no increase between 2021-2022. After that, funding will rise to $725 million in 2022-2023 and grow each year until it reaches $870 million in 2026-2027. The public spending benchmark of 1% of GDP is used as an international minimum standard for what is required for an accessible, affordable and high quality child care system. Changes to the maternity and parental Employment Insurance programs allow parents to stretch the existing benefits (with no increase in paid leave) over a longer period—18 months.
Parental benefits in Canada: Which way forward? 22 Mar 2017 | Canada
In 2016 the Government of Canada conducted online consultations to gauge public support for extending the duration of parental leave to 18 months, paid at a lower rate. In this paper, Jennifer Robson looks at parental/maternity leave policy by comparing public microdata from the Employment Insurance Coverage Survey (Canada-wide, not Quebec) with that of the separate Quebec parental leave system. Her findings indicate significant gaps in the EI-paid leave benefit system, especially for low-income families and for parents engaged in non-standard employment. Robson makes the point that parental leave under EI currently works on a basis that excludes those less likely to be eligible based on required hours—younger workers, females and those working in the ‘gig economy’, for starters. The paper says that "without additional reforms to ensure more equitable access to longer leave, the proposed changes will not benefit low-income families", suggesting reforms to temper issues of inequality.
Working for worthy wages: The child care compensation movement, 1970-2001 22 Mar 2017 | United States
This insightful paper offers up the perspective of America’s doyenne of the child care compensation movement in three phases from the 1970’s up until 2002. Various lenses are employed to deconstruct each issue; the policy and political climate of the time, assumptions and strategies used by advocates, approaches used to educate the public and key figures in the movement and the ties between them. Along the way, Whitebrook explores those avenues that held promise of sustained change—for example, salary enhancements built into policies and publicly funded programs. Many of the challenges and rhetoric discussed in this document remain pertinent to today’s ongoing struggle for decent compensation for those caring for and educating young children.
Resisting the dictatorship of no alternative – super-markets or democratic spaces 22 Mar 2017 | Europe
In this 2011 article, Peter Moss challenges the paradigm in which ECEC in the UK operates. He uses philosopher Roberto Unger’s idea of the ‘dictatorship of no alternative’ to challenge the notion that the market system of ECEC is inevitable. Moss sees this as a huge problem, as lack of discussion and alternatives corrupts democracy. He calls for a national evaluation of the market approach and suggests that critical questions must be posed about the purpose of early childhood education and care before creation of public policy. He hopes that this may result in a shift from anchoring ECEC policy in market language to democratic dialogue that features cooperation, cohesion and the public good as the parameters for establishing sound ECEC policy.

Many social programs support families, but child care is the backbone of them all.

— National Council of Welfare, Preschool Children: Promises to Keep , 1999

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