Corporate/For-Profit Child Care

Jan 16, 2013

The OCBCC advocates for child care that is non-profit and publicly funded.  Research shows that under these auspices, quality is higher, and outcomes improve for children.  There are also for-profit centres, including large "big box" child care corporations who make a profit on early childhood education and care.  Currently there are a number of Canadian-based child care chains (one of them, Edleun Group Inc. is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Venture Exchange).

There are currently three different sectors under which child care can be operated, these are:

  • Public (about 6% in Ontario)– Owned and operated by a level of government (school board/municipal government), non-profit;
  • Not for profit (about 74% in Ontario)– Owned and operated by an incorporated association or society for the purpose of offering an educational or social service.
  • For-profit (about 20% in Ontario)– Owned and operated by an individual or a company. A for-profit child care company may be a publicly-traded company (“corporate” child care)  or a private company.

Most child care in Ontario is privately owned and operated, with close to 25% of child care spaces being in the for-profit sector.

Is corporate child care a bad thing?

Currently in Ontario, both the non-profit and for-profit sector child care providers can access certain subsidies.  This allows for expansion of these large corporations, and there have been multiple examples of other countries where this completely destroyed the child care system and left families without care (see the articles on ABC).

Countries that are able to provide excellent systems of accessible, affordable, inclusive and high quality child care options have policies that mandate child care services to be publicly funded and publicly managed, operated on a non-profit or public basis. No country that views child care as a private business enterprise or a market to be exploited for profit are known for their high quality programs or accessibility.

Ontario early childhood advocates called for a moratorium on new licences to for-profit providers, but larger system-wide change is needed.


A report by Dr. Gordon Cleveland on child care auspices "If it don’t make dollars, does that mean that it don’t make sense?"

A CUPE Report on Edleun Inc corporate child care "Aggressive pursuit of profits in Canadian child care"

For a new tool from the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, "Checklist for Parents Considering Commercial Child Care", please click here.

An Economic Perspective on the Current and Future Role of Nonprofit Provision of Early Learning and Child Care Services in Canada is the final report of a 3-year project studying nonprofit and for-profit child care centres in Canada, by Gordon Cleveland, Barry Forer, Douglas Hyatt, Christa Japel and Michael Krashinsky.  The focus has been to establish whether and under what conditions nonprofit operation of centres will lead to higher quality services.  The authors use four different data sets to answer the question.  The report includes a comprehensive survey of relevant literature and information about nonprofit and for-profit child care in other countries.

Please click here for a  brief summary.

For the full report, please click here.

Please click the following links related to corporate/for-profit child care:

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