Ottawa, Ontario May 4, 2021
Liberal Government’s National Child Care Proposal
The national child care plan proposed in the Liberal government’s April budget is a sham.
In order to justify the proposal, the government relied on three flawed premises.
- Women experience proportionally more job loss during the pandemic than men.
The employment rate in 2019 and 2020 by sex was as follows:
Table Source: https://countryeconomy.com/unemployment/canada
- New child care spaces will increase female employment.
According to Statistics Canada only 3% of Canadian parents do not use child care because of waiting lists or space shortages. (1)
Currently this is only a problem with the child care system in Quebec, other research shows a large surplus of spaces in particular markets, not shortages.
- A national day care plan will pay for itself
The Fraser institute report issued in March 2017 (2), concluded that although the Quebec day care system did increase maternal participation in the labour force, it did not do so on a large enough scale to result in an increase in tax revenue that covers the cost of the program. Estimates determining the cost of child care in Quebec did not include capital costs, training, pension fund, and administrative costs. Further, according to Statistics Canada, the first priority of parents choosing child care is proximity, availability, while cost is only the third consideration. (3)
It is noteworthy that participation in the labour force in Atlantic Canada increased at a slightly faster pace than in Quebec despite not having subsidized day care.(4)
The Quebec Model
The Quebec system, for which parents now pay $8.35 a day, should be regarded as a cautionary tale rather than a model for the other provinces.
Numerous studies (5) indicate that the Quebec model falls far short of quality day care. Specifically, researchers found more hyperactivity in attention, aggressiveness, issues with motor and social skills, plus a reduction in the child/parent relationship. These negative outcomes for Quebec children extended into adulthood.
Day Care Choice is a Parental Decision
The decision about child care should always be a decision for the parents. They should decide whether the child should be raised at home by a parent or other family member; in private day care or community-based care; in a religious or ethnic-based child care centre, such as an aboriginal center where children will learn their culture, heritage, etc., or in a government-operated care centre.
Federal Proposal Provides No Parental Choice
The federal proposal on day care focuses only on a licenced, not for profit, one size fits all, government – operated system. This is a discriminatory plan. It is important that there be equality for all parents. There is no equality when only one type of child care is offered to parents, who will be required to pay for it, despite the fact that it does not meet their needs or benefits them.
Child Care Should Target High Risk Children
Subsided government day care should target and invest in children most at risk. The data regarding the benefits of high-quality programs were collected from low-income and significantly disadvantaged children who benefit most from early childhood state intervention. Advantaged children do not benefit from a universal day care program because of their own enriched home environment.
A Flexible Child Care Program is Required
It is essential that a child care program that provides parents with options is by far the fairest approach and will provide dignity and respect for those parents who choose to make the sacrifices involved in raising children – the future of our country.
For further information contact:
REAL Women of Canada
Western Canada Board Member
REAL Women of Canada
 Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Survey on Early Learning and Child Care Arrangements, 2019.” 28 May 2019, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190410/dq190410a-eng.htm.
2 Vincent Geloso and Ben Eisen “Quebec’s Daycare Program: A Flawed Policy Model,” Fraser Institute Bulletin (March 2017), https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/quebecs-daycare-program.pdf.
Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan, “The Long-Run Impacts of a Universal Child Care Program,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 11, no. 3 (August 2019): 1–26, https://doi.org/10.1257/pol.20170603.
3 Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Survey on Early Learning and Child Care Arrangements, 2019.” 28 May 2019, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190410/dq190410a-eng.htm.
4 Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0018-01 “Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, annual, inactive (x 1,000),” (2017) https://doi.org/10.25318/1410001801-eng.
5 Michael Baker, Jonathan Gruber, and Kevin Milligan, “The Long-Run Impacts of a Universal Child Care Program,” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 11, no. 3 (August 2019): 1–26, https://doi.org/10.1257/pol.20170603.
Michael J. Kottelenberg and Steven F. Lehrer, “New Evidence on the Impacts of Access to and Attending Universal Child-Care in Canada,” Canadian Public Policy 39, no. 2 (2013): 263–86, https://ideas.repec.org/a/cpp/issued/v39y2013i2p263-286.html.
Michael J. Kottelenberg and Steven F. Lehrer, “Does Quebec’s Subsidized Child Care Policy Give Boys and Girls an Equal Start?,” Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue Canadienne d’économique 51, no. 2 (2018): 627–59, https://doi.org/10.1111/caje.12333.
Pierre Lefebvre, Philip Merrigan, Francis Roy-Desrosiers, “Québec’s Childcare Universal Low Fees Policy 10 Years After: Effects, Costs and Benefits,” Cahiers de Recherche 1101 (2011), https://ideas.repec.org/p/lvl/lacicr/1101.html.