Crisis threatens the future of the economy and the women who work in it, says The Prosperity Project
TORONTO, April 12, 2021 – A diverse group of Canada’s leaders are saying the time has come to view the absence of early childhood education and care as a Canada-wide emergency and are asking the federal government to get on with the business of fixing it.
In an open letter to Minister Freeland, six other federal ministers and Opposition Leaders, signed by public policy and business leaders from across the country, The Prosperity Project is calling for the introduction of a Canada-wide early learning and childcare (ELCC) system to address the needs of working families, citing multiple research studies that show women are exiting the workforce due to the pressures of the pandemic. Joining the Prosperity Project to support this call are Business Council of Canada CEO Goldy Hyder, the Hon. Margaret McCain and Children First Canada Founder Sara Austin.
“We are mothers, white women, black women, women of colour and Indigenous women. As female leaders, we are taking action because the hardships of the crisis have been unevenly shared. In the world of work, we are witnessing significant negative consequences for women as they drop from the path to prosperity while it becomes apparent that others will never get the opportunity to participate in the first place,” said Pamela Jeffery, founder of The Prosperity Project, a not-for-profit organization created to ensure Canadian women are not left behind in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
The Prosperity Project is supporting a new ELCC platform for children and families across the country that is anchored by:
- Shared guiding principles affirmed in all jurisdictions focused on issues of quality, accessibility and affordability;
- Long-term, stable, national funding made available to “fund the services” including the training, recruitment and retention of well-paid and professional staff to help create attractive career prospects for early childhood educators-a predominantly female labour force;
- Ongoing benchmarking, assessment and planning to monitor outcomes across ELCC programs and ensure adherence to the guiding principles; and
- Equitable access to high quality and culturally appropriate ELCC for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children who often do not meet the minimum indices of social determinants of health.
“A truly robust economic recovery requires us to get our women back to work and accelerate their full participation in the economy. Because women can’t even get out the front door without reliable and accessible childcare, we need to significantly improve our early learning and childcare infrastructure,” said Kathleen Taylor, co-chair of The Prosperity Project Childcare and Early Childhood Education Advisory Group. “While this requires substantial investment and a high degree of inter-jurisdictional coordination, other domestic and international success stories have shown that higher workforce participation rates for women – together with improved outcomes for children and families – clearly justifies the cost.”
About The Prosperity Project
Launched in May 2020, The Prosperity Project is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization conceived by a diverse group of 62 female leaders from across the country – women who have historically made a difference and are committed to continuing to promote positive change as active participants in The Prosperity Project.
The organization was founded and is being led by Pamela Jeffery, founder of the Women’s Executive Network and Canadian Board Diversity Council. The Prosperity Project is taking action to explicitly link women and prosperity, underscoring the economic importance of gender equality during the COVID-19 recovery. Specific initiatives include a matching program connecting not-for-profit organizations with business expertise to bolster these organizations’ in-house skills and expertise, a Rosie the Riveter-inspired Initiative to inspire and empower women; quarterly pan-Canadian surveys and an annual report card on gender diversity and leadership.
Visit The Prosperity Project website at www.canadianprosperityproject.ca.