Canadian shortages highlight global ECEC workforce challenge
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Canadian staffing shortages demonstrate global reach of ECEC workforce crisis

Canadian staffing shortages demonstrate global reach of ECEC workforce crisis

by Freya Lucas

August 21, 2023

London Bridge Child Care Services, a Canadian-based early childhood education and care (ECEC) provider, recently announced that one of its services would temporarily close due to staffing shortages, with no end to the closure in sight.


The closure reinforces that the workforce challenges in Australia, where there are over 10,000 vacancies in the ECEC sector across the country, are being experienced the world over. 


Sadly, the centre involved is the only intergenerational service in its community, allowing children and aged care residents to participate in activities together. London Bridge has made efforts to ensure children accessing care through the centre were relocated, however 18 children who were newly enrolled have been left without care for the new school year. 


A press release from London Bridge noted that the provider continues to “put a tremendous amount of energy into our recruitment and retention strategies in order to reopen (centre name redacted) as soon as possible. At this point, we are unable to say when that will be.”


Staffing shortages have also led to the closure of outside school hours care (OSHC) programs operating out of local schools, leaving students and parents without before- and after-school programs.


Between the four schools, it is anticipated that the closures will impact 120 children. Despite school boards being required to ensure that OSHC programs are available to primary aged students on every school day, two school boards in the area have been unable to find alternative providers for their programs.


In commentary about the closure, local media noted that staffing shortages are not just a regional problem, and that providers throughout Ontario are facing similar challenges in securing staff while the federal government introduces $10 per day childcare.


The introduction of $10-a-day childcare has understandably driven demand upward, leaving some Australian commentators drawing correlation between the introduction of pre-prep in Victoria, and an additional year of schooling for NSW children in the year before school. 


A 2023 report by the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario that analysed the impacts of the federal government’s childcare plans found the policy could increase the participation of women in Ontario’s workforce, but warned that staffing shortages and access to childcare (sic.) spaces could limit those impacts, similar to the Australian experience. 


Access local media coverage of this story here. Find the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario report here

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