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Provinces leading on child care as federal cash begins to flow

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Regulated child care spaces are up by almost 150,000 since 2014 with almost half of new spots in Ontario.
Author: 
Monsebraaten, Laurie
Publication Date: 
9 May 2018
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Ontario leads the country in the growth of regulated child care with almost half of about 150,000 new spaces created between 2014 and 2016, according to the latest national snapshot of early childhood education and care in Canada.

It brings the number of regulated child care spaces for kids under age 12 in Canada to about 1.4 million, enough to serve about 27 per cent of youngsters, said the report by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit released Wednesday.

But coverage varies widely across the country from just over 8 per cent in Saskatchewan to 55 per cent in Quebec. Ontario has licensed spots for about 21 per cent of children up to age 12, according to the report. However Ontario has enough licensed spots in child care centres for more than 29 per cent of children under age 5.

“The Ontario data reflects the province’s commitment to increase spaces before 2016 (when it announced plans to create another 100,000 spots) and shows policy and money matter,” said Martha Friendly of the Toronto-based research unit, which has been tracking national trends since 1992.

Provinces spent almost $4.6 billion in 2015-16 on regulated child care, with spending in Quebec accounting for more than half of that despite representing less than a quarter of the national population, according to the report.

Child care grew in every province and territory, with Ontario creating 48 per cent of new spaces and Quebec accounting for 41 per cent of the growth, said Friendly.

“Not only are there are more spaces across the country, but there were encouraging policy changes, such as increased staff training requirements and more long-term planning,” Friendly said.

“It indicates there was interest in the provinces before the federal government got back into child care and that we can expect to see further growth now that Ottawa has re-engaged,” she said.

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Entered Date: 
9 May 2018
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