Together in Caring: Advocacy Update

Written by Julie Bisnath, BSW, RSW

Advocating for quality home child care has always been a priority for CCPRN and 2020 has certainly not been an exception.   Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the CCEYA 2014 review, we have been busy asking questions, gathering information, writing letters, formulating ideas, and meeting (virtually!) with partners and key players.  Here is a look at our key messages and an update as to what we’ve been doing lately:

Key Messages:

  1. The CCPRN leadership is committed to and focused on the well-being and safety of all children.
  2. CCPRN is dedicated to quality by providing information, training, resources, and support to those providing home child care.
  3. CCPRN will continue to work with the Government of Ontario to advocate for children and parents to modernize child care.
  4. CCPRN is committed to parental choice in finding child care best suiting their family’s needs.
  5. Nearly 80% of Ontario’s children under the age of 4 are in independent child care which includes Independent Professional Caregivers, relatives, and nannies.
  6. CCPRN supports a network of 4500+ in our region and across Ontario.
  7. IPCs are the foundation of child care in Ontario. They provide an essential service caring for the majority of children across the province.
  8. IPCs contribute to Ontario’s economy as small business owners.
  9. Independent Professional Caregivers are committed to the well-being and safety of the children in their care. IPCs urge the government to establish provincial health, safety, and welfare standards for all home child care.

Advocacy updates relating to COVID-19:

  • Contacting the Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament, to inquire about and clarify the initial criteria for the CERB, bringing forward the concerns of Independent Home Child Care Providers.
  • Writing to the Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and the Honourable Doug Ford, Ontario Premier, for clarification and direction relating to the provincial State of Emergency and Emergency Orders (Specifically Ontario Regulation 139/20 Child Care Fees).
  • Writing to the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, to advocate for safety equipment/PPE, standards/protocols, and training for all caregivers.
  • Contacting Ottawa Public Health for information and guidelines for operation during the pandemic. Advocating for the inclusion of Independent Home Child Care in all documents/publications.
  • Advocating at the Provincial level (with Premier Ford, Minister Lecce, and Minister Phillips) for financial assistance for Independent Home Child Care Providers as they remain open throughout the pandemic and/or are preparing to re-open their business.
  • Participating in a round table discussion facilitated by Cardus focusing on child care in post-pandemic Canada and submitting a written response for review.
  • Reaching out to Assistant Deputy Minister (Early Years and Child Care Division) Shannon Fuller for clarification regarding the Ministry of Education document “Operational Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak” and how it applies to Independent Home Child Care in particular.
  • Participating in a teleconference with Mr. Abdikheir Ahmed, Director of Policy and Research (Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development) to advocate for targeted federal spending to support the independent sector of home child care and preparing a written submission.
  • Thinking ahead to the bigger picture:  During the pandemic, home child care was deemed an essential service.  Providing individual care, sibling care, and care for small groups, home child care is the ideal choice when considering physical distancing, social circles, and community safety and well-being. Additionally, we feel that many parents will choose not to send their school-age children to school in September.  This will create a need for additional care.  In discussion with the Ministry of Education, CCPRN has proposed two new models of care to help mitigate this need.

Advocacy updates relating to the CCEYA (Child Care and Early Years Act) 2014 5-year review:

  • Participating as part of the Provincial Early Years Cross Sectoral Table (focused meetings on key cross cutting topics including: Working Together for the Early Learning and Child Care Sector, EarlyON, Inclusion, Home Child Care, and more lead by the Ministry of Education)
  • Gathering and consolidating information from our network via Facebook, email, and a dedicated survey.
  • Consulting with The Coalition of Independent Childcare Providers of Ontario (CICPO) as a like-minded organization to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas.
  • Advocating directly (via teleconference) with the Ministry of Education for changes to the CCEYA 2014 and producing a written submission outlining all recommendations.

We know that Independent Home Child Care Providers are often parents’ first choice for child care.  Chosen with careful thought and consideration, parents value the more personal, home-like environment which offers flexibility and personalized care while nurturing the developmental needs of each child.  Now more than ever, ensuring families have access to affordable, quality child care as they go back to work means ensuring they have access to Independent Home Child Care homes.