Canadian ECEC labour shortages: big, costly and solvable

Robert Fairholm and Jerome Davis

in Childcare markets

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9781847429339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307679 | DOI:
Canadian ECEC labour shortages: big, costly and solvable

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Canada's early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is primarily under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories. Each jurisdiction has its own distinct set of regulations, programmes and policies. These differences result in a diverse mix of employment settings, training requirements and availability of regulated childcare places. Despite the myriad of approaches there are a number of striking similarities in the ECEC labour market outcomes throughout Canada. The sector faces low pay, high staff turnover and persistent workforce shortages. ECEC workforce shortages are extremely costly given the short- and long-term benefits delivered by quality ECEC. The dynamics of Canada's ECEC labour market are unique compared with other nations. Parents are price sensitive, labour supply is extremely responsive to wage increases and governments regularly short-circuit labour market outcomes. Expansion of services in this sector often leads to a lessening of quality as more inexperienced staff are taken on. This chapter illustrates the magnitude of workforce shortages in the Canadian ECEC sector and explores market oriented and public oriented solutions to end Canada's recruitment and retention crisis.

Keywords: Canadian jurisdictions; Early childhood workforce shortages; Recruitment and retention crisis; Market failures; Market oriented solutions; Public oriented solutions

Chapter.  7070 words. 

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