WINNIPEG — On Thursday, NDP Critic for Children, Families and Social Development Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) urged the Liberal government to take immediate action to solve the child-care workforce crisis.
In many parts of the country, parents can't go back to work because they simply can't find a child-care space for their little one. Gazan says the Liberals' failure to ensure livable wages and the adequate working conditions that child-care workers deserve is the biggest threat to the success of a national affordable $10-a-day child-care system.
“This is not a worker shortage, it’s a wage shortage,” said Gazan. “It’s a shortage of respect and a shortage of dignity. To recruit and retain the child-care workers needed to create 250,000 new child-care spaces and reduce wait lists, the government must ensure the livable wages and benefits that these workers deserve.”
The Liberals promised at least $25 an hour for personal support workers in their 2021 election platform but have not made the same commitment to early childhood educators (ECEs) and other child-care workers – over 95 per cent of whom are women. Gazan says the Liberals must deliver better wages and working conditions that these workers deserve.
“Childhood educators are leaving the profession because current wages don’t cover the bills. This problem has been ongoing under Liberal and Conservative governments for decades,” said Gazan. “ECEs and child-care assistants do some of society’s most crucial work. They teach and take care of our children, but they are being treated as disposable. These workers are essential and it's about time the government acted like it.”
The NDP will continue to pressure the Liberals to allocate immediate federal investments to provinces and territories to improve their child-care staff wage grids. New Democrats will also continue to call on the Liberals to put in place a workforce strategy that ensures livable wages, better benefits, retirement security, adequate working conditions, education and training.