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Occasional paper series

A bad bargain for us all: Why the market doesn’t deliver child care that works for Canadian children and families

Friendly, Martha
May 31, 2019
978-1-89 6051-66-6

The idea that the struggle for universal child care in Canada is a “never-ending story” resonates with many who have analyzed it. Political economist and comparative researcher Rianne Mahon, who described it as a “never-ending story”, observed: “On the one hand, there is a stubborn and persistent need for good-quality child care linked to the high labour force participation of mothers. […] On the other hand, there are barriers that continue to block the development of an accessible, high-quality, publicly funded child care system” (Mahon, 2000: 2).

Child care can't wait till the cows come home: Rural child care in the Canadian context

Martha Friendly, Carolyn Ferns, Bethany Grady and Laurel Rothman
Occasional paper 30
September 30, 2016



The purpose of this paper, aimed at a wide range of stakeholders, is to provide a current overview of the state of rural child care and to stimulate and inform discussion aimed at improving it.

The report includes the following sections as well as references and appendices: 

Work around the clock: A snapshot of non-standard hours child care in Canada

Shani Halfon and Martha Friendly
Occasional paper 29
September 14, 2015



This report is intended to be a useful tool for policy makers striving to strengthen child care policy and programs, researchers studying child care, family and workplace policy issues, advocates working for accessible high quality child care for all Canadian families and employers of non-standard hours workers. Its main purpose is to provide an up-to-date report on the state of child care for families working non-standard hours in Canada. 

The report includes: 

Background paper on unregulated child care for the Home child care: More than a home project

Occasional paper 28
Carolyn Ferns and Martha Friendly
Occasional paper 28
June 24, 2015
ISBN 978-1-896051-60-4



Inclusion of young children with disabilities in regulated child care in Canada. A snapshot: Research, policy and practice

Occasional paper 27
Shani Halfon and Martha Friendly
Occasional paper 27
July 10, 2013


This report aims to provide a "snapshot" or inventory of the state of regulated child care for children with disabilities in Canada. It establishes a baseline for considering issues and progress on inclusion of children with disabilities in regulated child care programs. This is especially important as child care continues to receive relatively limited support in policy development and research even as early childhood education and early learning more broadly has begun to enjoy enhanced recognition and policy support.

Childcare markets: Do they work?

Helen Penn
Occasional paper 26
February 15, 2012

This paper explores some of the conflicting priorities between childcare by for-profit entrepreneurs and non-profit or state systems. The paper considers the limitations of using the market as a workable model for the organisation and delivery of childcare. It presents a brief overview of the reach of economics as a basis for making decisions about childcare, and describes changes in ideas about the application of market principles to traditional welfare contexts.

Innovations in provincial early learning curriculum frameworks

Rachel Langford, Ryerson University
Occasional paper 24
April 2010

This paper describes and analyzes the development, purposes, and content of provincial early learning curriculum frameworks and highlights the tools for practice they offer. Attention is given to particular theoretical perspectives articulated in the frameworks, and to examining how the frameworks address the critical issue of diversity within provincial contexts. An account of the implementation and evaluation of the curriculum frameworks in early childhood settings within each province is provided.

Can early childhood education and care help keep Canada’s promise of respect for diversity?

Martha Friendly and Nina Prabhu
Occasional paper 23
January 2010

The focus of this paper is on the role that public policy could play in positioning ECEC programs to contribute to realization of Canada's promise of respect for diversity. It describes the context of Canadian diversity and the policy context and situation of Canadian early childhood programs, emphasizing the potential role that robust, well‐focused public ECEC policy and programs could play in a very diverse country like Canada.

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Canadian early learning and child care and the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Martha Friendly
Occasional paper 22
June 2006

This paper's starting place is with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child's assumption that child care is a right and that governments have a responsibility in ensuring that this right is achieved. The paper reviews the Canadian political and social context for child care, putting this in a historical context; reviews the current child care situation; discusses the Articles of the Convention that pertain to
early learning and child care; and concludes that Canada has not yet taken the issue of children's right to early learning and child care seriously.

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