Canada Wide Child Care: Virtual Town Hall [Webinar]

In this webinar, we welcomed Minister Ahmed Hussen, Ryan Eickmeier, and Amanda Munday as we had a further discussion on Canada’s plan for child care and early learning. Minister Hussen opened with some great insights on the foundations of the Canada-wide Child Care plan and some of the advantages it will have for families and the workforce as we exit the pandemic. Both Amanda and Ryan gave their perspectives on the importance and impacts this plan may have.

🎤Our Special Guests:

Ahmed Hussen  – Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen is the Member of Parliament for York South—Weston. A community advocate and lawyer, he has proudly represented the residents of York South-Weston since 2015. Serving as National President for the Canadian Somali Congress, Ahmed worked with national and regional authorities to advocate on important issues to Canadians of Somali heritage, strengthening civic engagement and integration. His results-driven reputation led to an invitation from the Toronto City Summit Alliance to join the task force for modernizing income security for working adults. As a result of his advocacy work, the Toronto Star recognized Ahmed as one of ten individuals in Toronto to have made substantial contributions to the city. Ahmed has also worked as a Special Assistant for intergovernmental affairs to former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Ryan J. Eickmeier – MPP, LLM, EMBA Executive Officer of Helping Hands Daycare

Ryan is the Chief Executive Officer of Helping Hands Daycare, where he strategically leads all aspects of the organization. Across 9 centres, Helping Hands provides safe and educational space for over 900 children, from infant to school age. Academically, Ryan has earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in political science from New England College, a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from The American University School of Public Affairs, a Master of Law (LL.M) at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and an Executive Master of Business Administration (E.M.B.A) at the University of Fredericton’s Sandermoen School of Business.

Amanda Munday – CEO and Founder of The Workaround

Amanda Munday is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Workaround, a coworking space with quality childcare on-site. She is a policy expert and childcare advocate for universal, flexible care solutions for working parents. Amanda is also a best-selling author of Day Nine: a postpartum depression memoir, a member of the Fast Company Executive Board, and a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail on childcare and feminist policy issues. She advocates for childcare at all orders of government and sits on the Board of Directors for Creative Preschool of East Toronto and the Danforth Mosaic Business Improvement Area.

🧪Key Learning Outcomes from Minister Hussen

  • The pandemic has opened our eyes to something we’ve always know – without child care, parents simply can’t work. Mothers typically have to give up the jobs they love to care for their families. 
  • More than 16,000 women have dropped out of the labour market as of April 2021. 
  • The pandemic has also had an impact on the labour focus on racialized and low-income women. 
  • We can’t let the legacy of the pandemic be one of rolling back the progress made by women. 
  • Canadian families need more high-quality, affordable, flexible, accessible, and inclusive child care.
  • Child care is a necessity, that’s why the 2021 budget allocates $30 billion over the next 5 years and $9.2 billion each year after that, to build this Canada-wide system.

🧪Key Learning Outcomes from Ryan 

  • There are four pillars that are the key foundations for building a Canadian-wide child care system: having affordability, quality, inclusivity, and accessibility are critical goals that should be invested in.
  • This endeavor is very complex and it has the potential to alter the landscape across Canada. 
  • Quality has to be the backbone of any child care plan and without quality, nothing else matters. 
  • Affordability – centers will have to walk a fine line of balancing their costs and what they charge families. We need to look at how we can achieve this balance and roll out this plan. 
  • Inclusivity means child care for all! 
  • Accessibility – This plan should look at all aspects to meet the demands and needs of all families.

🧪Key Learning Outcomes from Amanda 

  • From my perspective, we still do not understand what child care means for the economy. 
  • We really need to think about the economy if only some people can participate. 
  • 30% of the workforce works a type of flexible hours. We need a new child care model. 
  • The future of work means an inclusive child care model. 
  • If we do not build for the future of work, we will have an insufficient child care model.

✨Resources

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Ria Reive

Ria Reive in the Community Ambassador at HiMama. Prior to starting at HiMama, Ria was an Early Childhood Educator and worked 6 years in the classroom. She taught all ages but mainly preschoolers. Ria lives in Toronto with her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her niece and nephew and being on the water.

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