On August 16, 2019, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, released the National Progress Report on Early Learning and Child Care for 2017–18. The report describes steps taken by the provincial and territorial governments with respect to early learning and child care, as well as initiatives undertaken directly by the federal government. These include the creation of an innovation fund to support various research and other projects being carried out by both government and non-governmental organizations, and the welcome establishment of an Expert Panel on Early Learning and Child Care Data and Research.
The report was issued as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to report annually on the progress made toward improving access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care. The report covers activity funded in the first year of the federal government’s multi-year budget commitment starting in 2017-2018 but it does not provide a detailed breakdown of how the federal dollars are being spent.
“We appreciate that this is only a first report on the action taken by the provinces and territories as a result of the federal multilateral framework agreement on early learning and child care but we will be pushing for more detailed reporting in future years,” said Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now, Canada’s national child care advocacy association.
Ballantyne noted that the report is very useful in that it confirms that a much more comprehensive and systemic approach is needed to bring about significant change in how early learning and child care is organized and managed in Canada.
“The multilateral framework agreement and the bilateral child care agreements with the provinces and territories have resulted in some important steps forward but they are nevertheless very small steps relative to the distance we have to go as a country”, explained Ballantyne.
“Child Care Now has developed an ambitious plan for building a comprehensive, universally accessible, inclusive and affordable child care system and is urging all federal parties to include it in their 2019 federal election platforms.
Our Affordable Child Care for All plan is getting widespread support from a diverse-cross section of Canadians anxious to see much more rapid and significant change when it comes to child care,” said Ballantyne. “We will be working hard through the election period to get that message across to the political parties and their candidates.”
- 21,205 more affordable child care spaces were created across the country in 2017-2018.
- 1,780 early learning and child care educators and staff participated or had improved access to training and professional development opportunities
- 1,960 child care spaces were created for parents who work non-regular hours or are employed seasonally.