The first 2,000 days of a child’s brain development sets the foundation for learning and well-being that lasts a lifetime. Early childhood education provides a first tier of education that is as important as those that follow. Yet today, only one in two Canadian children aged five and younger regularly attends an early childhood education program, putting Canada substantially below the OECD average. Evidence reveals that quality early learning opportunities launch preschool children on positive learning pathways while also narrowing achievement gaps that emerge before children start school. In Canada, more than one in four children starting school at age five will be considered vulnerable with cognitive, social, emotional, physical and language delays. Studies show that ECE reduces special education placement by 8.1 per cent, lessens grade repetition by 8.3 per cent and increases high school graduation rates by 11.4 per cent. ECE provides the most benefits to children and society when it’s offered in a universal program. Universality also addresses issues such as gender bias, diversity and socioeconomic bias. The fact is that an Early Learning and Child Care system is the smartest investment that Canada can make right now. It’s time for us to work together to finally implement universal #ECEforCanada.