According to a recent article in the Globe and Mail, the YMCA is responding to the demand from parents desperate for affordable, quality childcare by added nearly 2,000 daycare spaces across the Greater Toronto Area.
The number of two-income families with children under the age of five continues to grow in urban areas such as Toronto, where the cost of living is fairly high.
The increase in the number of women in the labour market has driven the need for day care services that also drives job growth for Early Childhood Educators and Early Childhood Educator Assistants. The participation rate of women in the labour force with children under the age of 6 has increased by more than 160%, going from 30% in 1976 to 79% in 2012, according to data from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey.
Another factor that is fueling the demand is that by law, toddlers and infants require higher staffing ratios, as low as three-to-one, compared to kindergarten-aged children who require an eight-to-one staffing ratio. There are a number of occupations that are impacted by this. Early Childhood Educators (ECE) plan and organize activities for pre-school school-age children while Early Childhood Educator Assistants provide care and guidance under the supervision of Early Childhood Educators. The combined efforts of Early Childhood Educators and Assistants lead children in activities to stimulate and develop their intellectual, physical and emotional growth and both these occupations are significantly impacted by the demand for ECE related services.
Across Ontario, the number of spaces in child-care centres and private homes climbed 21 per cent over the last five years, to over 311,000, but the growth still doesn’t meet the demand. There are close to 19,000 low-income families in Toronto waiting for a subsidized space, and even those who can afford it spend months on waiting lists only to pay the highest rates in the country.
Other provinces are experiencing the same demand. The B.C. Family Agenda states that in 2012 there were 274,424 children under 6 year of age in British Columbia. This supports the findings of the Coalition of Childcare Advocates which stated in their submission of October, 2012 to the BC Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, that B.C. families are experiencing very long waiting lists for childcare services. To combat this situation, the British Columbia Early Years Strategy established the goal to open 13,000 additional childcare spaces in the next 8 years.
Service Canada indicates the unemployment rate in this occupation is very low and that placement rates for graduates with a diploma in Early Childhood Education are excellent and have rated Early Childhood Education as a high opportunity job.