How to: Childcare Support for Working Parents

12 March 2024

Supporting, attracting and retaining working parents continues to be a challenge for employers and a key factor in addressing the labour shortage.

Common barriers that working parents encounter are limited availability at childcare centres, accessibility issues including transportation, high costs, and rigid schedules leading to long commutes. A Statistics Canada survey revealed that 42% of working parents delayed returning to work due to difficulties in finding childcare, and among those seeking childcare, over 50% faced challenges with finding care, with parents of children under one year being the most affected.

Strategies employers can use to address this pain point

1. Flexible Work Arrangements:

Allow flexibility in work hours and locations (deviations from standard work hours)

Enable parents to work outside regular business hours or from home to coordinate with childcare schedules.

2. On-Site Childcare Facilities:

Provide childcare services at the workplace, if feasible.

Partner with childcare providers to offer guaranteed spots or emergency care.

This reduces commuting time and eases the stress of childcare logistics.

3. Financial Support for Childcare:

Offer subsidies to help offset the high cost of childcare.

4. Transportation Assistance:

Facilitate transport services for children to and from daycare or recreational programs, especially when multiple employees use the same services.

5. Resource and Information Sharing:

Create a platform for employees to exchange information about local childcare options, including reviews and recommendations, tips, resources, opinions, daycare programs, day or overnight camps in the area, recreational programs available by neighborhood

6. Considerate Scheduling:

Schedule meetings and work commitments considering common childcare responsibilities

Ex. Getting children ready in the morning, daycare drop off and pick up times when choosing meeting appointments

7. Emergency Childcare Support:

Provide backup childcare options for unexpected situations, ensuring parents have a reliable Plan B.

8. Access to a Network of Daycare Providers:

Partner with daycare networks to ensure availability of spots, including emergency care.

Partner with childcare providers with enough locations to offer employees guaranteed access to full or part time space and emergency spaces

Example: A partnership like the one with Kids & Co offers all employees guaranteed access to full or part time spaces within 6 months of registering with a day care provider

[policy applied to preschedule aged children and guarantees a space at any Kids & Co location]

9. Support for SMEs:

Smaller companies can benefit from access to a network of daycare providers, ensuring availability of childcare spots

Daycare providers can benefit from guaranteed revenue & annual membership fees paid by the company to ensure employees have priority access to daycare spots

Benefits for Employers:

Enhanced Employee Satisfaction and Retention: Alleviating childcare concerns can significantly improve job satisfaction and loyalty.

Increased Productivity: Employees are more focused and efficient when not burdened by childcare worries.

Positive Workplace Culture: Demonstrates a commitment to supporting families, enhancing the company’s reputation.

By implementing these childcare support strategies, employers can make a substantial difference in the lives of working parents, leading to a happier, more productive workforce and a positive company culture.

For a deeper understanding of how accessible and affordable child care can transform the workforce, especially women’s labour force participation and support working parents, be sure to have a look at our newly released comprehensive report, “A Work in Progress: Towards $10 a Day Child Care in Toronto.” This analysis explores the impact of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement between the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government, highlighting the pivotal steps being taken towards making child care more accessible and affordable for families through the $10 a day child care initiative.


  • TWIG

    Toronto Workforce Innovation Group is a non-profit and independent research organization devoted to finding and promoting solutions to employment-related problems in the Toronto Region.

How to: Childcare Support for Working Parents
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