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Caring for the kids: The characteristics and livelihoods of Canada's paid child-care givers

TitleCaring for the kids: The characteristics and livelihoods of Canada's paid child-care givers
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBoyd, M., Hoe A., and Lightman N.

Canada's policy on early childhood education and care has consistently been ranked as one of the lowest among OECD countries alongside the very high labour force participation of women with children. Despite on-going debate over the care dearth, less attention is given to who provides paid child care in a highly feminized, lower waged and often unregulated settings. Who are these workers, what factors explain their employment in the caregiving sector, and what are their work profiles and wage levels? As part of the SSHRC funded Gender, Migration and Care project, this paper addresses these gaps by analyzing the 2011 National Household Survey, focusing on the child care paid work force, aged 20-64, who are employed either as workers in child care centres or as babysitters in private households. Three core findings emerge from this research. First, consistent with the findings of qualitative studies, being female, visible minority and foreign born are among the most important predictors of working as babysitters (defined as NOC2011 code 6474: Babysitters, nannies and parents' helpers) and day care workers. Second, temporary migrants, especially from the Philippines, and white Canadian-born women are the most likely to be employed as babysitters working in private households whereas other racialized groups are employed as day care workers. Third, substantial variations exist by race and geographical location in sites of employment, weeks and hours worked and in wages. However, regression analyses show that the higher earnings observed for some groups reflect their employment as full time workers and as wage earners (rather than self-employed). Overall, child care givers, both in private households and in daycare industries are among the lowest paid workers in the Canadian labour force.

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