University of Manitoba - Faculty of Arts - Sociology - Susan Prentice
Susan Prentice

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Susan Prentice Ph.D. Professor 
Duff Roblin Professor of Government
Twitter: @susanprentice

Ph.D. (York University), MES (York University) BA (University of Toronto)

My research program begins with my concerns about social inequality and social change, and my interests in public policy and systemic discrimination. I work in two broad areas of scholarship, each of which I undertake with a critical focus on gender relations. I am trained as an historical sociologist, and so bring an historical as well as a sociological imagination to my work.

My primary specialization is social and family policy broadly, and childcare policy specifically.  My interdisciplinary research program is indebted to feminist political economy traditions, and consistently addresses questions of care, gender, social movements, and the Canadian state.  My secondary arena of specialization is higher education, where I am keen to understand how formally neutral institutions co-exist with inequality and marginalization.
Beginning 2020, I assumed the Duff Roblin Professor of Government, with a focus on care, gender, and social policy.  This appointment builds on my current role as academic lead of the childcare policy stream of seven-year SSHRC Partnership Grant, "What is the Best Policy Mix for Diverse Canadian Families with Young Children? Re-imagining Canadian Family Policies."  I warmly invite students interested in the intersections of gender, care, families, social policy, and social movements to contact me about courses and possible research assistantships.

Public Sociology

I practice public sociology and work closely with social movements. I believe community-university collaboration is a site of exciting scholarship and knowledge generation. I actively work on knowledge mobilization oriented to popular audiences, social movements, elected officials, decision makers and the media.

I am a member of:

• Expert Advisory Group Expert Panel on Early Learning and Child Care, established by the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

• Research affiliate at Mamawipawin, the Winnipeg Boldness Project, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

• Child Care Coalition of Manitoba.

• Table de recherche, Coalition francophone de la petite enfance du Manitoba

• Advisory Group on Childcare, Statistics Canada

I also work closely with national feminist and childcare advocacy groups and campaigns, collaborate with social justice organizations and trade unions, and provide advice to interested political parties and others.  In 2015, I was the founder of Moving Childcare Forward: Research, Policy, Action ( ).


During the term of the Duff Roblin Professorship, my courses will be in Political Studies, and cross-listed with the Department of Sociology and Criminology.

I enjoy working with Honours and Graduate students inside and outside Sociology. I have worked with MA and PhD students in Anthropology, Applied Health Sciences, City Planning, Community Health Sciences, Computer Science, Economics, Education, English, Family Social Studies, History, Individualized Inter-disciplinary Studies, Marketing (Asper School), Political Studies, Rural Studies, and Social Work, as well as Sociology.

Recent Funded Research Projects

"What is the Best Policy Mix for Diverse Canadian Families with Young Children?  Reimagining Canadian Family Policies," (A. Doucet, Principal Investigator; S. Prentice academic lead of childcare policy stream).  2020-2027. SSHRC Partnership Grant. Award: $2,499,444.

"Community-Driven Solutions to Poverty: Challenges and Possibilities"  (S. MacKinnon, Principal Investigator; S. Prentice, Co-investigator). 2020-2027. SSHRC Partnership Grant. Award: $2,500,000.

SPECTRUM: Social Policy Evaluation Collaborative Team Research, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (M. Brownell, Principal Investigator; S. Prentice collaborator). 2019-2021. Award: $194,500.

“Caring about Care: An Examination of Care in Canadian Childcare.” 2016 – 2019. SSHRC Insight Grant. Amount $127,521. This project is led by Rachel Langford (Ryerson University) and includes Patrizia Albanese (Ryerson University) and Kate Bezanson (Brock University). You can visit the project's website, at

“Early Childhood Education and Care In Canada: Knowledge Transfer and Mobilization. SSHRC Connections Grant. I was Principal Investigator, collaborating with Donna Lero (University of Guelph) and Martha Friendly (Childcare Resource and Research Unit). You can read about this project at

 “Advancing Work-Family Reconciliation: Framing Gender and Generational Justice across Canadian and European Social Movements and Policy.” This project, on which I was principal investigator ended in 2015 and was funded by SSHRC.

“Investigating Professionalism as a Canadian Child Care Movement Strategy in an Era of Neoliberalism.” A 2011 – 2015 project, funded by SSHRC, with Rachel Langford (PI, Ryerson University) and Patrizia Albanese (Ryerson University.)

“FemNorthNet: Learning from Women's Experiences of Community Transformations as a Result of Economic Restructuring.” A five-year (2010 – 2015) SSHRC Northern Communities CURA project. Jane Stinson, of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, led the large research team of community and university-based researchers. I worked with the Thompson community team as the academic coordinator and I co-led the social infrastructure research theme with Teresa Healy.

Selected Recent Publications

Powell, Alana., Langford, Rachel., Albanese, Patrizia., Prentice, Susan, & Bezanson, Kate. (2020) Who Cares for Carers? How Discursive Constructions of Care Work Marginalized Early Childhood Educators in Ontario's 2018 Provincial Election.  Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 21(2), 153-164.

Prentice, Susan (2019). Childcare: Working in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada. In Leslie Nichols (Ed.) Working Women in Canada: An Intersectional Approach. (pp.157-175).Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

Susan Prentice and Linda White. (2018). Childcare Deserts and Distributional Disadvantages: The Legacies of Split Childcare Policies and Programs in Canada. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy. Vol 35, no. 1. Pp. 59 - 74.

Langford, Rachel, Susan Prentice and Patrizia Albanese, Eds. (2017). Caring for Children: Social Movements and Public Policy in Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

White, Linda A. and Susan Prentice (2016). “Early Childhood Education and Child Care Reform in Canadian Provinces: Understanding the Role of Experts and Evidence in Policy Change.” Canadian Public Administration. 59(1): 26 - 44.

Langford, Rachel, Susan Prentice, Brooke Richardson, and Patrizia Albanese. (2016). Conflictual and Cooperative Childcare Politics in Canada. International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy. 10(1). January: 1-20.

Prentice, Susan. (2016). “Childcare and the Manitoba Election.” In Karine Levasseur, Andrea Rounce, Barry Ferguson and Royce Koop, (Eds). Understanding the Manitoba Election: Campaigns, Participation, Issues, Place. (pp. 34 – 37). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

Prentice, Susan, Linda White and Martha Friendly. (2016). Beyond Baby Steps: Planning for a National Childcare System. Policy Options. Ottawa (July 19). Available at

Prentice, Susan (2016, July). Leading Childcare Policy Change: Childcare Commission Lessons from Canada. Journal of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders. Vol. 38 (2), pp. 10 - 13.

Prentice, Susan & Evelyn Ferguson. (2015). Early Childhood Care and Education in Manitoba: A Population Health Initiative?  In L. Fernandez, S. MacKinnon, & J. Silver (Eds.), The Social Determinants of Health in Manitoba, (2nd ed.), pp. 127 - 146 Winnipeg: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

White, Linda,  Susan Prentice and Michal Perlman. (2015). The Evidence Base for Early Childhood Education and Care Program Investment: What We Know, What We Don’t Know. Evidence and Policy. 11(4) November: 529 – 546

Pasolli, Lisa and Susan Prentice, (2015). “Reflect, Regroup, Renew: The Evolution of the Childcare Debate(s) in Canada, Our Schools/Our Selves, 24(4), 25 – 33.

Recent Public Sociology, Social Media and Knowledge Dissemination – Selected

Prentice, Susan & Stevens, Harvey. (2020, August 8). Child Care Becoming Unaffordable for Many. Winnipeg Free Press.

Prentice, Susan. (2020, March 25). Pandemic Punctures Child-Care Illusion.  Winnipeg Free Press.

Prentice, Susan. (2020, March 3). Childcare. In L. Fernandez (Ed.) Change Starts Here: Manitoba Alternative Provincial Budget (pp. 33-39). Winnipeg: CCPA-MB. Available at  Also released as a stand-alone chapter, at:

Prentice, Susan (2019, February 13), “Daycare Should Be Affordable to All,” Winnipeg Free Press,

Prentice, Susan (2018, March 31). “Ontario has reshaped the national child care debate.” Globe and Mail. (National edition.)

Friendly, Martha, Susan Prentice, and Morna Ballantyne (2018, March 8). No Equality Without Universal Childcare. Policy Options. IRPP.

Prentice, Susan (2016, December 22). Fast Facts: How to Really Help Manitoba Families: Build a Universal Childcare System. CCPA Fast Facts.
Prentice, Susan (2016, December 22). Comprehensive Daycare Strategy Crucial. Winnipeg Free Press, A 10.

Prentice, S., L. White and M. Friendly. (2016). Beyond Baby Steps: Planning for a National Childcare System. Policy Options. Ottawa (July 19). Available at

Prentice, Susan (2016, April 18). Tories’ Disappointing Plan for Child Care. Winnipeg Free Press, A 10.

White, Linda and Susan Prentice (2016, April 14). “Early Childhood Education and Care Reform in Canadian Provinces: Understanding the Role of Experts and Evidence in Policy Change.” Edmonton Regional Group of the Institute of Public Administration Canada (IPAC) – IPAC Impact blog. Available at


Universities are unique organizations that permit an exceptional degree of self-governance through collegial mechanisms.  I make academic service an important part of my work, and have a long track record of consistent service contributions.  My most important current academic service is through my elected membership on the University of Manitoba's Senate and Board of Governors, and through an appointed seat on the federal Tri-Council Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat's Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy (ACEDIP).

Last updated October 2020.