History of the Child Care Fund

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Friday October 12 2007


CUPW women push to make child care a priority issue in the union. It becomes part of the debate on women’s issues at the union’s national convention.



Two child-care policies are adopted in the National Constitution:

  • Opposition to cutbacks and support for the concept of 24-hour a day universal child care services as a responsibility of government (D-12)
  • Opposition to all for-profit child care centres (D-13)


1984 to 1987

The union begins to put child care on the bargaining agenda. In 1987, it puts forward a comprehensive demand for employer-paid child care services. The eventual mediation/arbitration award includes a joint child care study.



The joint study finds that CUPW members have a variety of child care problems:

  • Arranging back-up care
  • Providing for sick children
  • Finding affordable care
  • Consistent care for evenings and night work



The union wins a jointly administered child care fund (Appendix L). The employer puts $200,000 in to the fund every three months. The fund is capped at $2 million. The fund can be used for projects to provide child care services to postal worker families, child care information programs, needs assessments and child care research. However, the language in Appendix L is limiting: the fund cannot be used to advocate for better government policies on child care.



After more than 25 meetings with the employer and virtually no money spend, there is little to no agreement on anything. Frustrated by Canada Post’s stalling, the National Women’s Committee ensures that the union puts forward a demand for complete control and administration of the fund.



CUPW wins control of the Child Care fund.


1995 to 2000

The union develops 11 community-based projects which provide high quality child care services to postal worker families. Through the union’s education efforts, members are more aware than ever about the need for high quality child care and government action to solve the child care crisis facing postal worker and other parents.



CUPW and UPCE-PSAC sign an agreement that give their members access to our child care projects which provide high quality child care services. CUPW coordinates and administers the child care fund for UPCE-PSAC.

The union prepares a package of educational material on what it is like to work and have a child with special needs. The package includes a poster and quiz, and is for locals to use.



Family Place Resource Centre, a federally funded, non-profit organization, becomes the administrator of the Special Needs Project. A staff of three administers the day-to-day operations of the project out of the project office in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

The book, Moving Mountains: Work, Family and Children with Special Needs, is published and widely distributed. The book showcases the stories of CUPW families using the Special Needs Project.

CUPW wins the ISO Families Award (see p. 3), given by the Québec government’s Council on the Status of Women, for the work the union is doing on the Child Care Fund to help parents balance work and family life.


April 2003

As a result of collective bargaining, the employer agrees to increase its contribution to the fund to $250,000 by April 2003.

The union also makes two further gains. It negotiates coverage for members who have adult sons and daughters with disabilities that are dependent on their parents for care and for grandchildren when the member has primary responsibility for financial and residential care. With the additional funding, the child care projects are expanded to fifteen.

The Special Needs Project wins the Rosemarie Popham Award (see p. 5). The award recognizes exceptional contributions made to advocacy and social policy development on behalf of children and families. The award is presented by Family Service Canada.



The Moving On project is launched. The project provides information, resources and financial support for families with dependent adult sons and daughters with special needs.

The union produces a new poster, Breaking through barriers, on the Special Needs and Moving On projects. The poster wins a Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM) award.

CUPW negotiates access to the Child Care Fund and all of its projects for Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers in the RSMC collective agreement.



Negotiated cost-of-living increases to the Child Care Fund will ensure that the projects will continue to grow and be available to the members. By 2010, Canada Post will make quarterly deposits of $324,000 into the fund.

The Special Needs project surpasses its first decade.