The following letter was sent to the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 20, 2020.
Subject: Your Support Needed for Emergency Child Care Funding during COVID-19
Dear Prime Minister:
The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions and Child Care Now congratulate your government on its recently announced measures to support Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are grateful for your public acknowledgements of the incredible work being carried out by Canada’s frontline health care workers. However, we must alert you that those carrying out this work are facing a lack of licensed child care, now that family/home-based providers and child care centers have been shut down in all provinces, except British Columbia.
As of today, only Quebec has responded to the situation by putting in place special arrangements for health care workers and other frontline responders to access child care for preschool and school-age children at no cost to parents. These arrangements include instituting special protocols to keep the children and the staff providing the care safe from the virus, and measures to prevent spread.
We urge the federal government to immediately begin discussions with the provinces and territories and offer them financial assistance to resolve this problem. Quebec’s approach, which focuses on working parents who provide essential services, should be supported with federal funds so that emergency child care options can be extended to all those working to help Canadians through the crisis, including postal workers, grocery store staff, hydro workers, and others. Federal funding for these emergency measures would also encourage the other provinces and territories to take immediate action with respect to child care.
Across our country, people look to you for decisive and effective action to keep the public and our economy healthy. Your government can step in to ensure that those parents who must keep working to keep us safe and healthy have the critical supports they need to weather the unprecedented challenges we face as a nation. We are calling on you to work with the provinces and territories to help working parents at this critical time.
Executive Director, Child Care Now
President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
The Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
The Hon. Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Health
Debbie Forward, President, Registered Nurses’ Union Newfoundland & Labrador
Janet Hazelton, President, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union
Paula Doucet, President, New Brunswick Nurses Union
Mona O’Shea, President, Prince Edward Island Nurses’ Union
Vicki McKenna, President, Ontario Nurses’ Association
Darlene Jackson, President, Manitoba Nurses Union
Tracy Zambory, President, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses
Heather Smith, President, United Nurses of Alberta