The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care works to advocate for universally accessible and affordable early learning and care for all children and families. Throughout North America we only have one example of this type of program, and that is in Quebec where all families are able to access regulated child care services at the cost of only $7 per day. It is important to look at Quebec as a key example of a universal “fund the program” option for child care services that exemplifies the provision of a comprehensive system of accessible, affordable, high quality care to the province’s families. This has allowed families in Quebec to not have to make a choice between having children and working
The Benefits of a Universal System
In Quebec, child care, (along with other progressive family policies such as extended parental leave):
- Serves over 70% of children in the province at a cost of $2.1 billion, and hope to increase this to "one child, one space"
- Reduced child poverty (by 50% over the past 10 years)
- Increased school test scores (from the lowest to the highest in the country)
- Increased the fertility rate (1.74 as compared to 1.53 in Ontario)
- Increased the percentage of women in post secondary education to the highest in Canada
- Had major macroeconomic consequences on women's labour force participation (over 74% of women with children under 6 are working), gross provincial income (tax revenues from working mothers cover 40% of the universal program cost), and on federal and provincial finances (the program adds almost 2% to the provincial GDP, and benefits the federal government through taxes).
Ontario has 822,000 children under the age of six and about 1.9 million under the age of 13. The province and municipalities spend about $1 billion annually on 244,000 regulated child care spaces but just one-third of those are subsidized. Non-subsidized parents pay on average between $35 and $60 a day.
For more information on Quebec's child care program and policies, please see some of the following resources:
Update: Quebec child care program in the news - click here to read more about the economic benefits of Quebec's child care program.
OCBCC pdf: Overview Quebec's Child and Family Policies
OCBCC pdf: Lessons from Quebec - Quality in Child Care the non profit factor
OCBCC pdf: Myths and Facts about Child Care in Quebec
A 2011 presentation by economist Pierre Fortin on the "Economic Consequences of Quebec’s Educational Childcare Policy"
www.childcarepolicy.net word document: Speaking notes by Professor Gord Cleveland, Faculty of Management, University of Toronto, 2007. "The Benefits and Costs of Quebec’s Centres de la Petite Enfance" in English and en Francais
For more resources related to Quebec's child care, please check out the following links:
- Quebec's 15,000 new $7-a-day child care spaces
- Marois promises $7/day child care for every Quebec child by 2016
- Toronto Star: Copy Quebec daycare, PQ leader says
- Public Health Agency says Quebec Family Policy has led to Lower Poverty Rates
- Quebec's child care program pays for itself - proof we can do it here
- Response to Drummond Report: Investing in our future is good for Ontario