Oh Canada!

A day for discussion and reflection on the 
Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care Plan

Created by the Government of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Metis National Council, the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework was implemented in 2018-19. It recognizes the importance of distinct frameworks representing the rights and interests of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation.

A Priority of this guiding framework is for all Indigenous children to have the opportunity to experience high-quality, culturally-strong ELCC.

In 2021, the Government of Canada laid out a transformative plan to build a Canada-wide, community-based system of quality early learning and child care. It committed to working with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to put a system in place.

The priorities of this transformative plan focused on quality, accessibility, affordability and inclusivity in licensed child care.

As these plans have begun, each province has begun to look at the priorities.
Please join your Canadian colleagues for a day of learning and discussion about the plan.

•What has been successful in provinces?
•What are the challenges?
•What should be our priority?
•How can we work together to ensure that the system is robust for children and families, Educators and the communities in which we serve?

Together we can continue to build upon the good work in place and create the change we wish to see.

Meet the Presenters

Mary Teegee-Gray | Executive Director of Child and Family Services | Carrier Sekani Family Services

Mary is Gitk’san and Carrier from Takla Lake First Nation; a proud member of the Luxgaboo Wolf Clan and she holds the Hereditary Chiefs name Maaxswxw Gibuu (White Wolf). She has been raised to live her culture, customs, laws and traditions.  Mary has long espoused that in order for nations to be revitalized; nations have to heal from the atrocities that occurred through colonization. She also maintains that all services, programs and initiatives developed to benefit First Nations have to be built on a cultural foundation.  She advocates that healing and wellness has to be a priority for Leaders.

Mary is the Executive Director of Child and Family Services at Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) overseeing the provincially delegated programs, and prevention programs. and the Highway of Tears Initiative as well as violence prevention programs.  Mary is an accomplished Presenter at global and national conferences; always with the intent to educate and raise awareness of social issues for the First Nations people of Canada.

Prior to working at CSFS, Mary worked for her nation as Chief Negotiator and as Deputy Chief.  At CSFS she started developing and implementing Community Health programs for CSFS nations. She was also a part of the development of the CSFS Family Justice Facilitation Program in partnership with UNBC, the Justice Institute and the BC Mediators Roster Society.  This collaboration produced approximately 20 First Nation Mediators for Northern families.

Mary also contributes as;

• BC Representative on National Advisory Committee on First Nations Child and Family Services

• President of BC Aboriginal Child Care Society

• Chair of the BC Indigenous Child and Family Services Directors Forum

• BC Board Representative for the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada(FNCFS)

As the BC representative on the FNCFS she has had the privilege of working with the  FNCFS Board, Cindy Blackstock and the AFN on the Canadian Human Rights Court Case which proved Canada was discriminatory against First Nation children. Mary also participated on the National Legislative Working Group tasked to develop federal enabling legislation for Indigenous child and family which led to the Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children, Youth and Families.

Her goal is to assist in the reformation of child and family services within Carrier nations, BC and Canada to ensure First Nation children are protected, are taken care of by their own families and have the freedom to live up to their full potential within their culture.  She firmly believes that the way forward for our nations, is to revitalize cultural practices, traditions, customs and governing systems while embracing secular education and training.

Don Giesbrecht | Chair of the federal government’s National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care

Don has worked in Canada’s ELCC sector for over 32 years. He started his career as an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in Winnipeg and is currently on leave as CEO of the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF). He believes that the transformational change that the Canada-wide child care plan will bring for Canada’s children, families and ELCC sector will address the interconnected issues of affordability and accessibility of child care services for families along with enhancing quality for children—along with the importance of Canada’s ELCC workforce.

He has previously chaired the CCCF, the Manitoba Child Care Association, the Alberta Resource Centre for Quality Enhancement and he was a member of the Expert Panel on ELCC Data and Research. He also sat on the executive committee of the Child Care Human Resource Sector Council and served on other committees and in advisory roles in Canada’s ELCC sector.

Jacky Hughes | Manager of Child Services at Britannia Community Services Centre

Jacky Hughes is currently the Manager of Child Services at Britannia Community Services Centre, supporting the operations of 300 child care spaces in the Grandview-Woodlands area of Vancouver. With 27 years of experience in early childhood education, Jacky is committed to the standards and practice of quality childcare for children and families, and the lifelong personal and professional growth of educators.

Peter Dinsdale | President & CEO YMCA Canada

Peter Dinsdale has worked and volunteered for service delivery and political advocacy organizations on a local, regional and national level. Mr. Dinsdale obtained a Bachelor of Arts – Political Science and Native Studies and a Master of Arts – Interdisciplinary Humanities in 1997 from Laurentian University.

He previously was the Chief Executive Officer for the Assembly of First Nations, the past Executive Director of the National Association of Friendship Centres and previously a member of the YMCA Canada Board of Directors.

In 2018, Peter became a recipient of the Order to Ontario. Peter is married with two children.

Christopher Smith, Ph.D. | Muttart Foundation

Christopher is the Associate Executive Director for the Muttart Foundation, a private charitable foundation based in Edmonton. He has lead responsibility for the Foundation’s work in the area of early learning and child care.

Christopher serves on the Steering Committee for the Community University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families at the University of Alberta and is a member of the Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care. He was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care in Fall, 2022. Christopher formerly served as a member of the National Expert Panel on Early Learning and Child Care Data and Research from 2019 to 2021 and is the former chair of the Success by 6 Council of Partners for the Alberta Capital Region.

Morna Ballantyne | Executive Director of Child Care Now

Morna Ballantyne is the Executive Director of Child Care Now, Canada’s national child care advocacy organization. She began advocating for more, high quality and affordable licensed child care more than 30 years ago as a mother of two young children. Now a grandmother of a seven-year old and two four-year old twins, she continues to work with others to press all levels of government to build a publicly-managed and publicly-funded child care system for the benefit of children, parents, and those who work in child care—a system that will contribute to greater economic security and economic growth for all in Canada.  Morna served on the federal Finance Minister’s Task Force on Women and the Economy in the lead up to the 2021 federal budget which incentivized cross-country transformation of the child care system throughout Canada.  She currently serves on the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care, which provides independent advice to the federal Minister for families, children and social development.

Sharon Gregson | Provincial spokesperson for the successful $10aDay Child Care campaign working with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC

Sharon Gregson is the provincial spokesperson for the successful $10aDay Child Care campaign working with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC. She was twice elected as a Trustee to the Vancouver Board of Education. She represents British Columbia on the Board of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (Child Care Now). Business in Vancouver (BIV) named Sharon in the Power 50 in Vancouver in 2022 – and one of the top 500 most influential business leaders in British Columbia in 2022 and 2023.


9:00 AM | Welcome & Land Acknowledgement

9:05 AM | Sub-Committee Introductions

Barb Carlson
Early childhood Education College Instructor, University College of the North
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Marni Flaherty
Interim CEO, Canadian Child Care Federation
Ottawa, Ontario

Emily Mlieczko
Executive Director, Early Childhood Educators of BC
Vancouver, British Columbia

Nicola Maguire
Director, Research and Pedagogical Leadership, The Learning Enrichment Foundation
Toronto, Ontario

Brenda Ferguson
Chief Executive Officer, Today’s Family & Home Child Care Association of Ontario (HCCAO)
Hamilton, Ontario

Claire McLaughlin
Communications Strategist, Member Engagement, Canadian Child Care Federation
Ottawa, Ontario, Unceded Anishinabe Algonquin territory

9:10 AM | Mary Teegee and Don Giesbrecht

From Seed to Cedar: The Development and Implementation of the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care National Framework

Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) in Canada is undergoing dramatic change, working towards the federal government’s promise of high-quality, inclusive, affordable child care for families – and doing this in ways that uphold Indigenous rights and advance reconciliation. A key part of this systemic change is unequivocal recognition of First Nations jurisdiction over the care and education of their youngest citizens.  The BC Aboriginal Child Care Society (BCACCS) has been mandated, through political resolutions from the BC Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs – together as the First Nations Leadership Council – to implement the First Nations Early Learning and Child Care Framework.   This has included work on governance and jurisdiction, as well as engagement, investment, and shared learning.  Over the past 5 years BCACCS has worked directly with over 200 First Nations, Service Organizations, Tribal Councils, and Urban Indigenous programs to learn about their vision for children and families, providing over $32,000,000 in funding and support.

In this presentation, Mary Teegee-Gray (Board President, BCACCS), will share how this work is transforming from the smallest of seeds into a forest of tall cedars, full of inspiring stories of what is possible when the work is rooted in self-determination, rights, language, culture, and ceremony.

Transforming Canada’s Early Learning and Child Care Sector

Canada is three-years into transforming Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) services for children, families and the ELCC workforce. What has this historic investment in ELCC and system building accomplished to date and what is still in progress.

10:10 AM | Group discussion and reflections

10:40 AM | Peter Dinsdale and Jacky Hughes

Unveiling Realities – Data Driven Insights on the Canada-wide ELCC system

A Canada-wide early learning and child care system, once fully realized, will have a transformational impact on children, families and communities. The YMCA, Canada’s largest non-profit provider of early learning and child care, will share national data and perspectives on key trends, as well as successes and areas that require urgent attention. By sharing the YMCA’s experience we aim to understand CWELCC implementation to date and where we should go from here to achieve a high-quality, accessible, affordable and inclusive child care system.

A Child Care’s perspective on a changing Early Learning and Care landscape

How has the introduction of a Canada wide Early Learning and Child Care system impacted our community and what is needed to keep moving forward? Reflecting on Britannia Child Care Hub experiences as we maneuver through evolving and complex changes.

11:40 AM | Group discussion and reflections

12:10-1:30 PM | Lunch break (lunch is not provided)

1:30 PM | Christopher Smith

Advancing ELCC Workforces as a Foundation for ELCC System Building

Well-prepared and supported, professional early childhood educators provide the foundation for the delivery of high-quality early learning and child care. The longtime reliance on market-based approaches for the organization, financing and delivery of ELCC across much of Canada has resulted in early childhood educator workforces that are under-prepared and poorly resourced and supported for their work with young children and families. Significant new public investments in ELCC workforces are required as Pan-Canadian system building work proceeds with a focus on revaluing the work of early childhood educators. Drawing on work undertaken in Alberta and Saskatchewan and nationally, the presentation highlights key policy and practice changes required to advance ELCC workforces.

2:00 PM | Group discussion and reflections

3:00 PM | Morna Ballantyne and Sharon Gregson

What is the Role of Provinces in building a Canada-Wide $10aDay Child Care System?

In 2018 the B.C. government committed to achieving a $10aDay Child Care System over 10 years, consistent with the systemic policy and funding recommendations detailed in the community-developed $10aDay Plan.  Initially provincial investments expanded significantly but then leveled off when federal CW-ELCC funding started to flow. Using B.C. as an example – what should we expect provincial governments to contribute to supporting the CW-ELCC vision?

What more can governments in Canada do…

To reach the goal of a high quality system of early learning and child care for all children and families, and what more can early learning and child care advocates do to persuade governments to take further action?

4:00 PM | Group discussion and reflections

4:30 PM | Closing