In the 1980s, PSAC pushed Treasury Board to provide space for workplace child care centres in the federal public service. In 1986, the House of Commons Special Committee on Child Care recommended that the government “consider the establishment of a significant number of new child care centres in appropriate federal buildings over the next few years”.
It took time for the government to agree but after pressure by the union, Treasury Board signed a letter of agreement in 1989 that lead to the adoption of the official Workplace Daycare Policy two years later.
The Policy provided for the creation of 10 new workplace centres within five years. It provided a start-up budget for a non-profit child care centre and a full rent subsidy if 70 percent of a centre’s spaces were taken by children of parents working in the federal public service. By the mid-1990s there were a dozen such centres.
Since then PSAC has attempted to negotiate workplace child care provisions and to improve the existing Policy. However, budget cuts and a lack of commitment by successive governments have so far prevented further expansion even though evaluations have shown the centres are offering quality services and contribute to the recruitment and retention of employees.
PSAC and our members are now in the process of fighting back against government efforts to replace the Workplace Day Care policy and to undermine the existing centres.