Care and Climate Change

Working Papers

Laying the groundwork for a research project on the local impacts of new Canada-wide child care policy: A background paper

Martha Friendly and Rianne Mahon prepared a background paper for understanding Canada’s child-care landscape.

February 2023

Provision of early learning and child care (ELCC) is building towards universal access in cities, towns, rural and remote communities across Canada. These initiatives are part of an ambitious multi-year Canada-wide early learning and child care project launched by the Government of Canada in 2021. This “national project” is being implemented through bilateral agreements and action plans negotiated between the federal government and each of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial governments, with a parallel Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Agreement agreed to between First Nations, Métis and Inuit governance organizations and the Government of Canada. The Canada-wide ELCC project is aimed more broadly than the local or provincial level, as its purpose is to achieve high quality universally accessible child care from coast-to-coast-to-coast Canada-wide. As set out by the federal government and articulated through provincial/territorial policy design, it provides the impetus for significant change everywhere across Canada. It is at the local level, however, in big cities, small towns and rural communities that the impact of these changes in the approach to child care services will be experienced by families and children.

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