TD Bank: Increased Child Care Demand Means 315,000 New Spaces Needed
Report concludes that flexible work and affordable child care is a winning combo but more ECEs and more spaces are desperately needed.
TD Bank recently published a report titled “The Space Between Us,” where they explore how the availability of flexible work and affordable child care will “define Canada’s workplace.” In their report, TD Bank highlights that Canada is seeing more mothers with young children working since the onset of the pandemic. TD Bank states, “Since 2020, the labor force participation rate among women with children under the age of 6 has risen by 4 percentage points, nearly double the increase observed in the previous three years.” This has translated to approximately 111,000 additional working women.TD Bank attributes this trend to two primary factors: the increase in workplace flexibility and improved access to affordable childcare.
Key Factors: Workplace Flexibility and Childcare Affordability
When the pandemic hit, many industries embraced remote work, and this had a positive impact on working mothers. In May 2020, the share of women working exclusively from home skyrocketed to 42.7%. Industries that offered flexible arrangements saw a structural increase in employment for this demographic, with sectors like finance & insurance leading the way. As industries transitioned back to in-person work, this figure declined but remained significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels, standing at 23.7% by December 2021.
TD Bank highlights another critical factor propelling this trend – improved access to affordable childcare. The report points out, “Quebec is naturally leading the way of providing financially accessible child care since the early 2000s.” In more recent years, the implementation of affordable childcare measures in British Columbia and Alberta has also led to rising workforce participation rates among mothers.
To understand the significance of these trends, let’s take a look at the data:
Female Labour Force Participation Rates
|Women with Children under 6 (%)
|Women Aged 25-44, No Children (%)
Next Step: Attracting and Retaining ECEs
Amidst the pandemic’s transformative impact on the labor market, the rise of remote and flexible work arrangements and improved access to affordable childcare has resulted in more mothers entering the workforce. To maintain and build upon this positive momentum, TD Bank stresses the need to address the supply of daycare spaces and prioritize attracting and retaining Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) through targeted policies and sufficient training capacity.
TD says that attracting and retaining ECEs has to be “front and centre” in government policy and it needs to be providing wage enhancements and training to retain early childhood educators (ECEs). As of right now, it is not enough. For example, Ontario introduced a wage floor of $18/hour in 2022, rising to $21/hour by 2025, and offering an extra $1/hour subsidy for RECE child care program staff. In comparison, Alberta offers more competitive wages, ranging from $19.43/hour to $28.50/hour this year, depending on the ECEs’ level of certification.
TD Bank Claims an Additional 315,000 Child Care Spaces Are Needed
However, despite the government’s efforts to reduce childcare fees, the TD report reveals that “the estimated demand for childcare spaces far exceeds the available supply by a considerable margin.” A potential gap of 243,000 to 315,000 spaces for children under the age of six is expected by 2026. If the government fails to keep up with wage pressures while lowering childcare fees for parents who already had access, those who were left out will continue to face barriers to workforce participation. According to TD Bank, “this is the space between us.”
Read the original post with more information on economics.td.com