xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories/Vancouver, B.C
VANCOUVER, March 8, 2022—Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS) is embarking upon a 2.5-year initiative to create a feminist pandemic response and recovery by strategizing systemic change in the child care sector. The Building A Child Care System That Works for Immigrant and Refugee Women project is funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE).
The project is timely, as the federal government begins to set up a universal child care system and as the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development plans to support Early Childhood Educators and the $10aDay Child Care Plan. Moreover, between May 2019 and 2020, immigrant women’s employment rates decreased by 12.2%, while dropping 7% for the Canadian-born population and 8% for immigrant men (1). Representing a third of Canada’s child care workforce (2) and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, immigrant and refugee women’s voices and experiences are crucial to the development of a universal child care system as both mothers and child care workers.
“As immigrants or refugees, we do know the situation in BC. We know our needs and our children’s needs. We know the weaknesses of the system and problems childcare providers are facing. We hope that you give us a chance, so we can figure out practical solutions to establish more accessible and equitable childcare services,” emphasises Sunnie, a newcomer mother of two, who has been developing childcare solutions as a part of PIRS’ Immigrant Women Advisory Committee (IWAC).
The Building A Child Care System That Works project expands upon IWAC participants’ past work and centres immigrant women’s leadership and lived experiences. It also enhances sector collaboration, as we address intersectional barriers to equality for diverse women.
PIRS Executive Director, Mariam Bouchoutrouch, states, “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the childcare sector on a universal child care system. Child care is an undervalued profession that is crucial to women’s recovery, especially for immigrant women. PIRS wants to ensure that our constituents are represented as families and workers of the system and that immigrant women’s needs are integrated in the system’s design.”
To learn more about PIRS’ Building a Childcare System That Works project, or donate, please visit: https://pirs.bc.ca/building-a-childcare-system.
This project has been funded through Women and Gender Equality Canada’s Women’s Program.
(1) “The startling impact of COVID-19 on immigrant women in the workforce,” Ferrer and Momami, 2020.
(2) 2016 Census of Population.