The research is clear – the economic benefits of public spending on early education outweigh the costs:

  • A 2017 study by the  Conference Board of Canada found that every $1 spent on expanding ECE enrolment for children yields close to $6 in long-term economic benefits. Other studies have shown similar results.
  • Deloitte Canada Chief Economist, Craig Alexander, estimates an additional 57,600 women would enter the workforce if Canada created accessible quality early learning opportunities for 70% of children between 0 and 5 years.
  • An increased annual federal investment of $8 billion will create more than 92,000 staff positions within early learning and child care.
  • Jim Stanford, Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work, has recently affirmed that a early learning and child care program would create tens of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in additional GDP and new revenue for the federal government and each of the provinces.

Current ECE Spending

The majority of early learning and child care spending now comes from the provinces and territories.

Over the next five years, we need to increase the current amount of federal government spending by an additional $8 billion annually to reach the average OECD enrolment level of 70 per cent for children aged five and under.

This may sound like a lot, but the returns far outweigh the costs. And frankly, the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of universal ECE.

But how this new money is spent matters just as much as what is spent. Plans for a Canada-wide early learning and child care system require comprehensive plans for a qualified early childhood workforce. We know that social and economic benefits are tied to quality early childhood education which means that qualified educators are the essential ingredient.

ECE Benefits far Outweigh the Cost

When children from all socioeconomic backgrounds have equal access to affordable, quality ECE, it enhances opportunities for parents to work, reducing poverty and boosting equality. This creates a “double dividend” that simultaneously supports a child’s development and their parents’ workforce participation.

The fact is that an Early Learning and Child Care system that is publicly funded and universally accessible is the smartest investment that Canada can make right now. It’s time for us to work together to finally make #ECEforCanada happen.