Celebrating $10aDay Child Care

Celebrating Progress.
Advancing further implementation of $10aDay child care.

Historic investments for $10aday child care in BC and across Canada result from the collective efforts of a wide range of organizations and individuals from across sectors. While we (Early Childhood Educators of BC (ECEBC)[1], Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC (Coalition)[2], Generation Squeeze[3], and our allies, funders, and supporters) have been lead voices for $10aDay child care over the last decade, we have consistently built on the work others have done before us and along side us, including the 1970 Royal Commission on the Status of Women. We continue to build on this legacy to advance a compelling vision and plan for implementing $10aDay child care, while affirming Indigenous rights and reconciliation, so that it becomes a public good, just as other parts of the education system.

Our path to “move the dial” on child care has involved 4 strategies:

  1. Developing an evidence-based vision and detailed plan for a child care system, in and with community, including policy, funding, governance, accountability and implementation recommendations. This work has been led by the Coalition and ECEBC in BC, working in partnership to advance the Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning since 2011. The partners also regularly updated the Plan to incorporate new research and evidence, learnings from First Nations and Mètis organizations, respond to government initiatives, and recommend concrete next steps. In 2022, they released the second version of the $10aDay Roadmap in BC – a framework detailing the steps required to fulfill the current child care commitments of both the BC and federal governments.

  2. Estimating the costs and related socio-economic benefits of this Plan, prioritizing benefits in the near term. This has been carried out by all three organizations, using various economic methodologies over time – all of which show that the broad-based social and economic benefits of child care more than cover the public investment required.

  3. Leading with the simple, effective, and concrete message establishing maximum parent fees of $10/day, developed by Gen Squeeze. The Coalition and ECEBC adopted and popularized $10aDay, integrating it into their system-building Plan. Aligned communication frames complimented this brand:

    • Gen Squeeze prioritized making the generation raising young children deserving of public investment so that child care no longer costs another rent/mortgage-sized-payment as housing prices skyrocket, or more than university tuition when young people are paying off larger student debts.
    • In their BC advocacy, the Coalition and ECEBC highlighted key elements of the $10aDay Plan as the doable solution to the lack of high quality, affordable, accessible child care along with the importance of fair compensation for ECE professionals and the rights of Indigenous children to access culturally based programs.

  4. Mobilizing public interest and broad-based support province- and nation-wide, creating the political space for action. All three organizations have contributed to mobilization, utilizing a range of strategies that reflect their mandates, networks, geographical focus, and diverse approaches to public engagement. Together with allies, our collective work built such broad popular support that child care became a key issue in recent provincial and federal elections.

In BC, ECEBC and the Coalition developed and broadly shared $10aDay materials in meetings, presentations, and gatherings across BC.  The Coalition prioritized its resources on a multi-year mobilization strategy in 2015, launching a $10aDay Campaign web site (10aday.ca) that provided quick actions for its 20,000 supporters to take. The $10aDay Campaign built a social media presence, organized province-wide stroller brigades, and received endorsements from local governments, School Districts and hundreds of community organizations, unions, and businesses representing more than 2 million British Columbians. Through this mobilization, $10aDay has come to define the public discourse on child care in BC and beyond.

Gen Squeeze leveraged its reputation for evidence-based policy solutions, as well as its pan-Canadian network of nearly 40,000, to build national momentum for $10aDay child care. Gen Squeeze amplified its Budget and Voters Guide activities to call on all political leaders to make historic child care investments. Through these efforts, and building on the success achieved in BC, $10aDay has come to define the national public and political discourse, reflected in the use of the above-described Gen Squeeze language and framing in the 2021 and 2022 Federal Budgets when describing historic $10aDay child care investments.

The leadership provided by ECEBC and the Coalition in BC, and the leadership provided by Gen Squeeze on the national stage (along with other partner organizations and allies), collectively influenced the $10aDay child care policy victory.

But we know more work remains. Historic funding allocations for $10aDay child care in federal and provincial budgets are key to building a strong system. And yet, essential elements remain to be achieved, including confirming $10aDay as the maximum fee (per child) any family pays for child care – not just the average. Ensuring that early childhood education professionals earn wages commensurate with their education, and the importance of their complex and pedagogical work.  Expanding access through public, non-profit and Indigenous-led programs. These elements are essential to ensuring that high quality, inclusive $10aDay child care is available and accessible for all who choose it.   

Our three organizations – together with our allies in BC and across the country - have a shared interest in creating a child care system that acknowledges Indigenous rights and advances reconciliation, meets the needs of BC children and families, respects the invaluable work of ECE professionals, and contributes to easing the many pressures on families with young children today.

[1] Since 1969, ECEBC has worked to advance the quality and professionalism of early care and learning in BC, promoting public policies and best practices based in research and evidence.

[2] Since around 1982, the Coalition - an inclusive, feminist, membership-based organization – has worked collectively (through research, public education, and mobilization) to achieve a high-quality, affordable, accessible child care system in BC that serves the public interest.

[3] Since 2010, Generation Squeeze - a charitable Think and Change Tank promoting wellbeing for all generations. Gen Squeeze champions generational fairness to preserve what Canadians hold sacred—a healthy childhood, home and planet—so we all leave a proud legacy. 

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