Canada’s social impact sector needs a professional childcare system

The Liberal government's Throne Speech promises a national childcare plan, a significant policy for the female-dominated social impact sector, but the details are important

Why It Matters

One of the biggest barriers to women re-entering the workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic is a lack of decent childcare. Roughly three-quarters of all Canadian nonprofit sector workers are women. An exodus of qualified staff, alongside the increased workload for social services, could be disastrous for both nonprofits and their service users.

As COVID-19 forced parents across Canada to reconsider their childcare plans at lightning speed, YWCA CEO Maya Roy started hearing from her organization’s own childcare workers. They, too, were quitting their jobs.

Economist Armine Yalnizyan coined the term “she-cession” to describe the disproportionate number of women who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who quit their jobs to care for their children or other family members. Roy was watching this phenomenon play out in real time with childcare providers at one of Canada’s oldest feminist organizations. “It was bananas,” she says.

This dynamic is playing out everywhere in the Canadian economy right now, but it becomes especially frightening for social impact organizations. Roughly three-quarters of sector employees are women at a time when they represent the majo

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