Early Childhood Education
Two recent reports indicate that Canada’s investment in early childhood education and care remains short of the minimum public investment recommended by the OECD and UNICEF.
In New Brunswick, close to 4,000 childcare workers care for 27,000 children in regulated childcare centres. New Brunswick’s childcare system is a private system in which parents purchase childcare services. Subsidy programs are available to low-income families to offset childcare costs. Childcare is currently viewed as a private need rather than a public good.
In Quebec, the move to a primarily publicly-funded childcare system in 1997 benefitted not only families’ pocketbooks but also the economy and the government’s coffers. Investments in early learning and childcare led to an increase in GDP by 1.7% due to increased employment and resulting government revenue. Social assistance costs decreased because more mothers entered the workforce. Gains in tax revenues exceeded the cost of government investment, with a net benefit of 55 cents for Ottawa and 20 cents for Quebec for every dollar invested.
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