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Provincial Advocates Form the National Advisory Council on Private Childcare

Logo for the National Advisory Council on Private Childcare

Advocacy groups and individuals from BC, AB, ON, NS and NB join forces to represent the interests of private childcare operators across Canada

CALGARY, AB, CANADA, February 15, 2023 / -- Provincial advocates for private, for-profit childcare operators met recently and formally created a new association called the National Advisory Council on Private Childcare. The entity will advance a united voice that represents the interests of private operators through the rollout of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement and related legislation.

The National Advisory Council on Private Childcare was established aiming to ensure the federal government:
-Recognizes that Canada’s current childcare system depends on private operators, despite the government’s preference for the not-for-profit business model;
-Remains accountable to the intentions of the CWELCC agreement to create an affordable, equitable, accessible, and high-quality childcare system, regardless of the operator’s business model;
-Respects parents’ right to choose childcare that meets their family’s values and needs;
-Acknowledges impacts to children as the highest priority for decision-making.

“The federal government has rolled out the CWELCC program utilizing a divide-and-conquer strategy with a priority of building a not-for-profit childcare system, despite several provinces using mixed systems for decades,” said Alberta’s representative, Krystal Churcher. “This is irresponsible and is causing significant strain on operators trying to deliver quality childcare.”

During the Council’s first meeting, several issues were identified, including:
-Inequitable access to childcare and extensive waitlists for parents;
-Significant lack of transparency for families and operators;
-System-wide disorganization and CWELCC rollout mismanagement;
-A government-imposed financial crisis amongst operators struggling to stay afloat;
-Growing inability to attract and retain the Early Childhood Educator workforce;
-System-wide burnout by operators struggling to deliver services in an increasingly complex and constantly changing system.

“This approach has caused numerous issues and will result in less choice for families,” added BC’s representative, Jennifer Ratcliffe. “The investments and value generated by private operators are being wiped out to the detriment of Canadian families.”

Maggie Moser from Ontario said: “Most of the information the government releases doesn’t reflect challenges directly felt by operators carrying the financial costs of the program, many of whom are on the verge of bankruptcy as a result. The government hasn’t been transparent about the impact of inflation on childcare centers, which wasn’t adequately factored into the funding provided.”

“The government imposed hard fee caps during a time of historic inflation. Operators are facing a massive administrative burden and being forced to give up all control over their programs while bankrolling the CWELCC rollout,” added Donna Buckland from Nova Scotia.

“Parents are promised affordable, quality childcare, which is a goal all private operators support,” added Erin Schryer of New Brunswick. “When affordable spaces are unavailable and expansion of private childcare is being limited, it's operators who are forced to deliver the bad news to parents. There’s significant burnout as operators struggle to keep up with changes and lose control over their business.”

The Council believes the problems created by the government’s CWELCC program rollout are ideologically driven and the program will create a highly bureaucratic, centrally controlled system that does not respect provincial jurisdiction or the history of childcare in provinces with successful mixed delivery systems.

The Council will advocate for a new approach to childcare that provides funding directly to families to:
-Eliminate excessive program administration and bureaucracy;
-Create a system where funding follows the child to any provider that meets the family’s preferences and needs;
-Allow free market competition to encourage innovative programming;
-Change CWELCC funding availability to an income-based model or sliding scale that allows equitable need and access goals to be met;
-Provide open and full expansion options for operators to create new spaces and meet increased demand caused by the CWELCC program;
-Limit unnecessary spending of taxpayers’ dollars to incentivize not-for-profit expansion where private operators are willing to invest private capital.

About the National Advisory Council on Private Childcare

The National Advisory Council on Private Childcare is made up of provincial not-for-profit associations and individuals advocating for childcare choice in their provinces. The group came together to present a united voice on common issues related to the rollout of Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement and related federal legislation.

The Council advocates for the rights of parents, children and private childcare operators throughout Canada. Founded in 2023, the Council includes representatives from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Peter Pilarski, President
CIPR Communications
+1 403-462-1160