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  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Organizational Responses Canadian Centre for Policy […]
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  • Boots Riley in Winnipeg May 11 February 22, 2019
    Founder of the political Hip-Hop group The Coup, Boots Riley is a musician, rapper, writer and activist, whose feature film directorial and screenwriting debut — 2018’s celebrated Sorry to Bother You — received the award for Best First Feature at the 2019 Independent Spirit Awards (amongst several other accolades and recognitions). "[A] reflection of the […]
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  • CCPA-BC welcomes Emira Mears as new Associate Director February 11, 2019
    This week the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office is pleased to welcome Emira Mears to our staff team as our newly appointed Associate Director. Emira is an accomplished communications professional, digital strategist and entrepreneur. Through her former company Raised Eyebrow, she has had the opportunity to work with many organizations in the […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study explores media coverage of pipeline controversies December 14, 2018
    Supporters of fossil fuel infrastructure projects position themselves as friends of working people, framing climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as the latest report from the CCPA-BC and Corporate Mapping Project confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape. Focusing on pipeline […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Study highlights ‘uncomfortable truth’ about racism in the job market December 12, 2018
    "Racialized workers in Ontario are significantly more likely to be concentrated in low-wage jobs and face persistent unemployment and earnings gaps compared to white employees — pointing to the “uncomfortable truth” about racism in the job market, according to a new study." Read the Toronto Star's coverage of our updated colour-coded labour market report, released […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

OECD on Child Care and Early Learning

The following is from Roland Schneider of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD. We live in curious times when the impeccably neo liberal OECD is positioned well to the left of the federal government on this issue.

It goes without saying that trade unions across the OECD have been campaigning for accessible, affordable and high quality childcare in order to assure that children get the best start in life that society can offer. Young parents are an essential part of the workforce, but their ability to work full time is to a great extend determined by the support they get in caring for their children. They often face difficulties in balancing their work and family commitments; many of them still find it particularly hard to access the support they need in order to care for their children. Their difficulties reflect in part significantly modified family and child-rearing patterns across industrialized countries. It is against that background that I would like to draw your attention to the publication of a further OECD review on early childhood education and care (ECEC) in a number of its member countries, describing the social, economic, and conceptual factors as well as research that influence early childhood policy. The review, “Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care”, outlines not only the progress made by some OECD countries in responding to key challenges of ECEC policy as outlined in a previous review. It offers also many examples of new policy initiatives adopted in the ECEC field.

In their conclusion, the authors identify ten policy areas for further critical attention from governments. They reveal that beside the objectives of increasing women’s labour market participation and to reconcile work and family responsibilities on a basis more equitable for women, also the need to address issues of child poverty and educational disadvantage are key factors turning governmental attention to ECEC. That, however, has not translated into sufficient public spending on ECEC services yet. With the notable exception of the Nordic countries, OECD countries are under-spending on early childhood education and care services.

Inappropriate public funding of ECEC services is reflected in a mixed picture regarding working conditions and training opportunities for ECEC staff. The report found that because of under-funding, many of the ECEC institutions “are unable to provide regular in-service training and/or non-contract time for staff to improve their pedagogical practice.” Moreover, it was also found that child care staff in many countries are paid around minimum wage levels and that in turn, “not surprisingly, staff turnover in the child care sector is high.” The story that emerges from the data is that the position of ECEC in the labor market has changed for the worse in recent decades. A similar finding has been revealed by a recent US Study on “Losing Ground in Early Childhood Education. Declining Workforce Qualifications in an Expanding Industry, 1979-2004”, published by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based Think Tank with close ties to the labour movement. (A summary of the US study has been posted at the related EPI web site: ). Both studies sound the alarm on the pressing need for governments to take action in order to improve the quality of ECEC services. To improve working conditions and to reverse the fall in the qualifications of ECEC staff must become major goals in government action. Governments must enable childhood education and care services to attract and hold onto well-educated teachers required for the provision of high-quality services. Spending on ECEC pays off; it improves long-term educational outcomes for children and delivers benefits to the society that far outweigh the costs (lower costs for subsequent education, increased taxes paid once children mature and enter the workforce, reduced social costs)

To read more about the OECD report, go to the OECD website:,2340,en_2649_34511_37416703_1_1_1_1,00.html

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