Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Our Children's Future

Our Children's Future: Child Care Policy in Canada

Gordon Cleveland
Michael Krashinsky
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 280
  • Book Info
    Our Children's Future
    Book Description:

    Assembling key experts and activists in the area of Canadian child care policy, this book makes an important contribution to understanding how Canada, with its particular institutions, politics, and values, should design a national child care strategy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7816-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    Most young Canadian children use non-parental care arrangements every week. The Canadian National Child Care Survey of 1988 found that 74 per cent of all children in Canada who are between eighteen months and six years of age are in regular non-parental care arrangements.¹ This statistic should give all of us considerable pause – the large majority of young children in Canada already use non-parental care. Given this reality, the endless discussion about whether non-parental care is optimal is beside the point. The key issues for policy makers to ask and answer are ‘What kind of care could and should our...

  6. Part 1 Child Care and the Social Union:: Who Should Do What?

    • Introduction
      (pp. 21-24)

      The first session of the conference dealt with the quintessential Canadian problem: how to develop and finance a coherent national child care policy in Canada when the Constitution clearly gives responsibility for education and welfare to the provinces. This is not an abstract academic concern. Several times in the past two decades, Conservative and Liberal federal governments have declared a strong interest in expanding direct funding of child care services, yet, in the end, have failed to act. Lack of consensus among provincial and territorial governments about the design of federal assistance has been cited as a key barrier to...

    • 1. Child Care and Canadian Federalism in the 1990s: Canary in a Coal Mine
      (pp. 25-61)
      Martha Friendly

      By the end of the 1990s there was a convergence of ideas about why good quality child care is an issue of national importance for Canadians. A National Council of Welfare study is a good reflection of contemporary thinking about the importance of early childhood care and education not only for individual Canadian children and families but for Canadian society-at-large:

      Good child care makes an enormous difference in the ability of poor families to find and keep jobs. Affordable child care supports those families that are not poor stay in the workforce. But beyond all this, good child care is...

    • 2. The Politics of Child Care in Canada: Provincial and Federal Governments
      (pp. 62-68)
      Bob Rae

      My views are a little different from those of Martha Friendly, with her emphasis on the importance and centrality of federal leadership, but I do not think that I am at all antagonistic to what she sets out as her primary objective.

      There is some very good news in the continuing evolution of Canadian public opinion regarding child care, where politicians are lagging behind the public. The good news is that eventually the politicians will catch up. Frankly, more have caught up in the past five years than had before, not because of anything that is terribly inexplicable, but because...

    • 3. The Federal Imperative
      (pp. 69-73)
      Tom Kent

      This chapter is confined to one question - the characteristically Canadian question - about the policy map for good child care. How can we achieve a nation-wide purpose through services that are under provincial jurisdiction? The problem is rooted in the diversity of the provinces: diversity in size, from Prince Edward Island to Ontario; diversity in ideology, from Quebec to Alberta; and an economic diversity that produces far greater differences in provincial finances than it is possible to remove by the measure of tax ‘equalization’ that is politically acceptable. Such diverse provinces cannot be expected to produce major program initiatives...

    • 4. Child Care and the Social Union Framework Agreement: Lament or Leverage?
      (pp. 74-82)
      Alfred MacLeod

      To date, the social union framework agreement leads a double life. In the real world of public memory and awareness it is an obscurity. Only about one in five Canadians clearly recall hearing or reading anything about the agreement. As a point of intersection between governments and the general public, however, while the agreement may be an anomaly, it is by no means an obscurity. Its clear emphasis on values and principles, public accountability and transparency, and partnership and collaboration mesh almost seamlessly with public sentiments, or at least the sentiments of the majority of the public. The proof of...

    • Discussion
      (pp. 83-86)

      The crisp and contrasting presentations generated significant discussion from the floor. One child care advocate clarified that no one in the child care community had ever expected that the federal government would directly run child care programs, but it was expected to be an active financial and planning partner with the provinces. At the time of the implementation of the Canada Health and Social Transfer, in 1995, the federal government had pleaded poverty. Now it is natural to look to the federal government for leadership on child care policy because of the federal surplus, and because of recent promises to...

  7. Part 2 What the Rest of Canada Can Learn from Quebec and from Other Countries

    • Introduction
      (pp. 89-91)

      The symposium also included two speeches delivered as lunchtime addresses. In each case, the intention was to explore the experiences of other countries and jurisdictions in dealing with the various problems being raised at the symposium. After all, Canada is not the first country to expand its child care system, so some valuable lessons can presumably be learned from what has happened elsewhere. In particular, we have going on within our own country a remarkable expansion of child care services in Quebec. The Quebec government is in the process of providing child care at $5 per day to all preschool...

    • 5. What We Can Learn from the Quebec Experience
      (pp. 92-105)
      Jocelyne Tougas

      It is a tall order to explain how and why, despite having the same budgetary constraints and the same preoccupation with attaining zero deficit as elsewhere in Canada, the government in Quebec was able to introduce a major reform of child care services, injecting new funds and garnering the support of the entire population.¹

      This chapter begins with a discussion of the factors that contributed to creating a climate promoting progress and change in the field of early childhood education in Quebec. They are unique to Quebec, its history, and the Parti Québécois government. Then the early childhood and child...

    • 6. Getting Good Child Care for Families: What Can Canada Learn from Other Countries?
      (pp. 106-117)
      Helen Penn

      One of the processes that happen to you as you get older is that you tend to agree with Einstein - that is you feel you know more and more about less and less. Or put another away, rational explanation comes on a continuum between parsimony and complexity, and having started off at the parsimonious end of the continuum, which is the belief that all behaviour is basically straightforward and subject to rational explanation and prediction - essentially an economist’s view - I now operate at the opposite end of the continuum, that is, I believe that everything is richly...

    • Discussion
      (pp. 118-120)

      The two lunchtime speeches left little time for discussion, but generated enormous interest. After Jocelyn Tougas’s speech on the Quebec innovations, there was some concern expressed by two questioners. One suggested that although Quebec seemed to have designed a utopian policy for child care, it had been implemented too quickly. The high demand for $5-a-day spaces created considerable problems in providing them on relatively short notice. Staff could not be trained quickly enough, and the eight-month training program provided in Quebec was simply inadequate. The short-term measure of increasing child-staff ratios could not work over any significant period of time....

  8. Part 3 What Is Good Quality Child Care and How Do We Get It?

    • Introduction
      (pp. 123-125)

      The second session of the conference turned to a discussion about what the word ‘quality’ means when considering child care. Everyone is, of course, in favour of ‘high quality’ child care. Everyone at the symposium was in general agreement that achieving higher quality was going to require spending more money per child than is currently being spent in most day care centres across Canada. In fact, the monograph by Cleveland and Krashinsky, which stimulated the symposium, suggested that child care should cost about $8,500 per year for each child between the ages of two and five years of age, which...

    • 7. Moving towards Achieving Quality Child Care
      (pp. 126-141)
      Gillian Doherty

      The monograph that served as the inspiration for this publication suggests that Canada can afford to spend between $5 and $6 billion annually for a child care program for children aged two to five.¹ Although an expenditure of this size would assist in the development of a high-quality program, it is not sufficient to do everything that would be desirable. Therefore, hard decisions must be made about priorities. This can only be attempted after clarification of what is meant by ‘good quality child care’ and identification of the current situation. After defining ‘quality’ and looking at the current situation, this...

    • 8. Training, Quality, and the Lived Experience of Child Care
      (pp. 142-168)
      Hillel Goelman

      In a recent advertisement for laser eye surgery, one company disparaged the qualifications of its competitor by suggesting that an appropriate sales slogan for the competitor should be, ‘Our staff skipped medical school and we pass the savings on to you!’ The not-so-subtle message is clear: Professional training makes a significant difference and our staff is much better trained than our competitors. A similar argument is presented in this chapter: The levels of overall education and of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)-specific training play a critical role in the provision of quality child care programs, and, for this reason,...

    • 9. The Role of Caregiver Training
      (pp. 169-174)
      Ellen Vineberg Jacobs

      The authors of the two chapters written for this part have focused their attention on the delivery of quality care. Prior to commenting on their particular approaches to achieving good quality child care, it is important to stress that there are many different ways to look at quality child care. One is the holistic, big-picture view presented by the European Commission Network on Childcare in 1996. The policy framework for Early Childhood Services drafted by the twelve countries of the European Union of Member States (EU) consists of forty targets grouped into nine target areas including (1) policy formation, (2)...

    • 10. The Professionalization Process in Child Care
      (pp. 175-176)
      June Pollard, Judy Bernhard and Pat Corson

      Both Hillel Goelnman’s and Gilian Doherty’s chapters are excellent in that they give us hope. They are both based on a profound understanding of the current status of child care in Canada and are grounded in an optimistic view that we can improve and move towards a system of child care provision that is the best possible experience for young children and their families. Gillian Doherty provides sound arguments for working towards better family child care supports, increased public awareness, and improved training and salaries in ECE. Hillel Goelman focuses on the need to improve the expectations for training of...

    • Discussion
      (pp. 177-178)

      The chapters on how to achieve high quality in child care generated significant discussion on two central issues. The first was the role of and the appropriate standard of education and ECCE-specific training for caregivers providing centre-based care. The second was whether these same expectations should be applied to providers of family day care.

      On the first issue, some questioners suggested that better training might not be the magic bullet that would ensure high-quality child care. Training might well be only one of several inputs into high quality, and we might also have to look at improving the child-staff ratio...

  9. Part 4 How Will Good Child Care Services Be Delivered:: Education System or Community Services?

    • Introduction
      (pp. 181-183)

      This session of the conference turned to a critical organizational issue: how should child care services be delivered? To date, Canadian child care centres have largely been private organizations. Some centres operate for-profit, but there has been an increasing predominance of non-profit providers. The emphasis on non-profit provision provides for a relatively decentralized community-based system. But there is an obvious alternative model available. The education of children in Canada is, of course, provided largely through the public school system, with direct public control through school boards. Kindergarten services for five-year-old children (and junior kindergarten in Ontario for four-year-old children) are...

    • 11. Education and Child Care: Confronting New Realities
      (pp. 184-200)
      Penny Milton

      The commitment from the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, made during the 1997 province-wide teacher walk-out, illustrates the extent to which debate about the role of public schools in child care is carried out at arm’s length from the reality of family life. By publicly acknowledging the school system’s role in providing essential care, the Ontario government recognized that child care and public schools cannot be separated in the practical lives of children. It went even further, giving an implicit nod to the universal need for such a service, by waiving the requirement to provide proof of additional expenses;...

    • 12. The Case for Community-Governed Child Care Services
      (pp. 201-217)
      Susan Prentice

      Once the case has been made and accepted that child care is a public good and an essential human service, planners must develop mechanisms to deliver care.¹ With the very limited exception of the years during the Second World War, Canadian policy makers have never accepted these propositions, and as a result policy debates over child care have rarely needed to question implementation models. In the absence of an organized system of child care, services in Canada have basically grown ad hoc, reliant on volunteer non-profit corporations or the commercial sector to establish and deliver care, whether licensed or unlicensed.²...

    • 13 How Should Child Care Be Provided?
      (pp. 218-226)
      Julie Mathien

      There are many ways that a jurisdiction can provide early childhood services that meet goals of quality and access better than those in North America have managed to do. For example, France has split provision. With a strong central government, it provides optional full-day kindergartens calledécoles maternellesthrough the national education system for children ages three to six. Virtually all children of that age group attend, as do many two-and-a-half-year-olds. Younger children (20 per cent to 25 per cent of them) attendcrèches, most of which are operated by municipalities with a mix of local and national public funding...

    • 14. The Need for Public Commitment and Coherent Policy
      (pp. 227-233)
      Jane Beach

      Why, in Canada, do we have such a struggle with the provision of early childhood services? After decades of public kindergarten, private preschool, and child care, and ongoing debate on policy, funding, and responsibility, we are mired in endless contradictions. Many countries are matter of fact in their view that good early childhood experiences are good for children and families and that these services are worthy of public involvement in planning, funding, and delivery to make them available. They do not agonize over whether or not children will have poor attachment if they are away from their parents for part...

    • 15. Aboriginal Perspectives on Child Care
      (pp. 234-234)
      Margo Greenwood and Perry Shawana

      For Aboriginal people child care is viewed as a vehicle for the transmission of culture and preservation of their languages. Generally, Aboriginal people are reluctant to endorse a pan-Canadian child care policy because of their historical experience with government assimilation policies. Aboriginal people view child care as a community responsibility. Quality child care services are developed in and for the community. Quality, then, is a fluid concept defined by the community.

      Identity and cultural realization derived from the family and community is fundamental to providing quality care. It is imperative that child care services instill identity in a child. Professionally...

    • Authors’ Responses
      (pp. 235-241)
      Penny Milton and Rita Chudnovsky

      The prospect of providing care and early education programs for young children in schools raises significant spectres in the minds of some observers. All young children require high-quality, age-appropriate programs. The elements of such programs are well known to the early education specialists in the public education sector. This implementation model is predicated on the assumption that the location of programs is not, in itself, a determinant of either the nature or quality of such programs, except that a publicly accountable system operating within a provincial mandate can be expected to ensure that appropriate curricular and qualified staff are in...

    • Discussion
      (pp. 242-244)

      The presentations in this session did not in the end propose wildly different visions of how to organize child care. However, the issue of whether to rely on the institutional structure of the school system or to build community-based non-profit organizations generated a wide set of reactions from the floor.

      One set of issues was raised by two Aboriginal representatives at the symposium, Margo Greenwood and Perry Shawana. They pointed out that central control was problematic for a group that viewed child care as a critical way to communicate Aboriginal values. Rita Chudnovsky suggested that we needed to learn from...

  10. Part 5 What Family Policies Are Needed to Complement Universal Child Care?

    • Introduction
      (pp. 247-250)

      The fourth session of the symposium turned to the broad issue of family policy. Governments construct their social and economic policies so that they provide different kinds of financial and services support for different kinds of families. Government policies towards early childhood care and education services are, in many countries, a key part of family policy. In any country, the appropriate design of the child care system depends critically on the other policies that affect young children and their families. To choose an obvious example, the type of child care required by the four-year-old children of working parents depends on...

    • 16. Family Policies and Families’ Well-being: An International Comparison
      (pp. 251-274)
      Anne H. Gauthier

      What is the level of support provided by governments for families in industrialized countries? Where does Canada rank from an international perspective? And what is the impact of family policy on families’ and children’s well-being? These are important questions, especially in the context of budget constraints and welfare reforms. This chapter addresses these questions by comparing the support provided for families by governments in some twenty countries. The comparisons are aimed not only at the level of support provided by governments, but also at the type of support provided, as well as the impacts of these policies on families.


    • 17. Child Care Policy and Family Policy: Cross-National Examples of Integration and Inconsistency
      (pp. 275-295)
      Maureen Baker

      Several years ago, when I still worked in Canada, I participated in a multicountry project concerning Family Change and Family Policies,¹ involving about twenty-five member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Canadian report, which I completed with Shelley Phipps, was published as part of a book edited by Sheila Kamerman and Alfred Kahn calledFamily Change and Family Policies in Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.² In preparing this report, we were asked to consider the historical roots, politics, and institutionalization of family policy in our country. After struggling with these issues...

    • 18. Canadian Values and the Evolution of Child Care Policy
      (pp. 296-300)
      Kathy O’Hara

      This chapter explores the ways in which Maureen Baker’s and Anne Gauthier’s chapters reflect the evolution in the policy discourse or debate on child care, at least in Canada, since the mid-1980s. Material presented in the two chapters is supplemented by my own research on family policy in eight countries which is presented in the Canadian Policy Research Network study entitledComparative Family Policy: Eight Countries’ Stories.¹ I will argue that the debate on child care has evolved considerably over the past fifteen years in a direction that is more consistent with Canadian values and preferences, but that to achieve...

    • 19. How the Composition and Level of Support for Families Affects Children
      (pp. 301-305)
      Shelley Phipps

      This section compares the package of family and child care policies available in Canada with those available in a variety of other relatively affluent countries. Maureen Baker focuses upon Canada in comparison with Australia and New Zealand, while Anne Gauthier compares Canada with a much wider set of countries (mainly adding European countries to the comparison). The advantage for Canadian policy analysts of looking at what exists elsewhere is that it can help us to remove our ‘blinkers’ and to see entirely new ways of doing things – some of which may be suitable for application to Canada, and others which...

    • Discussion
      (pp. 306-308)

      The family policy session, because of its focus on the array of policies affecting children and families, generated several broad questions. These tended to bring out some of the basic trade-offs implicit in the design of a comprehensive child care policy.

      The first question raised the issue of whether the interests of children and parents might ever be in conflict. The benefits to children from good child care are generally phrased in terms of child development, while the benefits to working mothers revolve around the gains that accrue to adults because of permanent attachment to the labour force. Yet the...

  11. Part 6 Single Parents, Child Poverty, and Children at Risk:: What Special Child Care Policies Are Needed?

    • Introduction
      (pp. 311-314)

      The fifth session of the symposium looked at the special needs and circumstances of some families who use child care. A comprehensive child care policy such as that proposed in the Cleveland and Krashinsky monograph tends to look at child care in an integrated way. Child care services would be provided universally to all young children who want to use them. Yet, in Canada to date, much of the direct public funding for child care has focused on children from poor families – largely those with single parents – and on other children at risk. Providing funding for all children will represent...

    • 20. What Special Arrangements Are Necessary for Lone-Parent Families in a Universal Child Care Program?
      (pp. 315-333)
      Gordon Cleveland and Michael Krashinsky

      There have been, until recently, three different approaches to providing child care assistance in Canada. The first, beginning in a coordinated way in 1966, was provision of subsidies to low-income families using licensed child care services. Although these subsidies were cost-shared between federal and provincial (or federal and territorial) governments, they were not available to most families. The income eligibility criteria restricted them to use by lone-parent families, to a very significant extent. In Ontario and the Northwest Territories, a needs test for subsidy eligibility was used, with similar effects. The intent of these subsidies, which typically required the parent...

    • 21. Investments in Comprehensive Programming: Services for Children and Single-Parent Mothers on Welfare Pay for Themselves within One Year
      (pp. 334-346)
      Gina Browne, Joanne Roulston, Bonnie Ewart, Michael Schuster, Joey Edwardh and Louise Boily

      This chapter represents the growing consensus among researchers and policy makers about the best social policies and programs for very poor families with children. It may be used to guide policies made at various levels of government that affect poor single parents, their children, and the agencies that serve them.

      Much of the public funding for children’s services in the 1990s focused on children from poor families – primarily those with single parents – and those considered ‘at risk’ of health and developmental problems. This ‘welfare’ or ‘targeted’ approach to funding for children’s programs, can be at odds with a more universal...

    • 22. The Needs of Aboriginal Canadians
      (pp. 347-351)
      Richard Budgell

      I find little to argue with in the broad principles addressed in the chapters by Gordon Cleveland and Michael Krashinsky, and by Gina Browne et al. But both chapters, for me, commit the crime of omission. That is, both fail to describe the characteristics of these faceless poor, whose best interests we are discussing.

      The general arguments in the two chapters – in Cleveland and Krashinsky, that some special arrangements may be necessary for lone-parent families, and in Browne, that a comprehensive web of services best addresses children’s needs – are well supported with relevant research findings. However, both chapters ignore what...

    • 23. Learning from Experience: Can We Check Old Assumptions and Categorical Thinking at the Door?
      (pp. 352-357)
      Donna S. Lero

      The opportunity to engage in serious thinking about a new policy and program approach to better meet the needs of children and families is both exciting and an awesome responsibility. Experiences in Canada, the United States, and many other countries provide important lessons both about what works for children and families, and what creates additional fragmentation and difficulty for families, for service providers, and for communities. Most readers of this volume are well aware of the problems that have been created or exacerbated by not investing dollars, political will, and significant human resources into the development of a comprehensive approach...

    • 24. Why Child Care Fees Are Problematic
      (pp. 358-361)
      Michael Goldberg

      The two chapters at the beginning of this part explore the type of child care policies that are needed to address the particular circumstances of single parents, child poverty, and children at risk. Both primarily focus on single parents with low incomes, particularly those on income assistance.

      Cleveland and Krashinsky present a case for modifying their proposed universal child care program, where parents pay 20 per cent of the cost of quality child care through fees. The modifications are necessary, argue Cleveland and Krashinsky, to address the disincentives of child care fees for those with low incomes, and particularly for...

    • Authors’ Responses
      (pp. 362-364)
      Gordon Cleveland and Michael Krashinsky

      Michael Goldberg suggests that we are looking at the problem of designing a sliding scale of fees ‘from the wrong end’ and that we would be better off avoiding all fees for child care – financing the entire service directly through taxes. It is certainly true that many other services (e.g., medical care, primary and secondary education) are provided without fees. But it is not clear that we should adopt this approach in our advocacy of a national child care system.

      One reason for advocating that parents should directly pay 20 per cent of the cost is to increase political support...

    • Discussion
      (pp. 365-366)

      The discussion on the papers in this session tended to highlight the uneasiness felt by some in the child care community about charging fees for the use of child care services. As well, participants felt uneasy about separating out lone mothers and about expecting them to work.

      On the first issue, several questioners pointed out the cost of administering a fee system, and one questioned whether it was wise to use fees to restrict use, even if parents were out of the labour force. In response, Mike Krashinsky reiterated his argument that disincentives to work built into the welfare system...

  12. Part 7 Child Care Workers:: What Qualifications, Pay‚ and Organizations Should They Have?

    • Introduction
      (pp. 369-371)

      The final session of the symposium shifted its attention to the people who would work in the expanded child care sector. Services such as child care are labour-intensive. The skills, knowledge, experience, and efforts of the caregivers are the primary determinants of the quality of care and the developmental effects on children. To design a national child care system without paying attention to the characteristics, pay, working conditions, and long-term career path of those workers would be foolish.

      Furthermore, the wages and benefits of child care workers and the staff-child ratios in day care centres are the primary determinants of...

    • 25. Working with Young Children
      (pp. 372-389)
      Jane Bertrand

      Margot works at a regulated child care centre located in an office tower in downtown Toronto. She completed an Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma at George Brown College three years ago. After graduating from college, Margot was hired to replace a staff member on maternity leave. When that contract was complete, she was able to move into a full-time position in the toddler room. Recently, she has moved into the infant group, where she works with two other staff members. The workplace child care centre includes children from three months to five years.

      Sonja is a coordinator of a family...

    • 26. Thoughts on Child Care Workers
      (pp. 390-393)
      Annette LaGrange

      The context of the work and the nature of the field influence the way that those who work in the field are prepared, compensated, and valued. There is considerable diversity in the way child care is provided in Canada, and this makes the formation of policy complex. This complexity is further complicated by the ambivalent public view of child care, and the difficulty in establishing a clear identity for those who work in the field.

      While other caring professions (such as nursing or teaching) have increased the minimum education required of caregivers, child care has lagged behind. International standards suggest...

    • 27. Issued in the Professionalization of Child Care
      (pp. 394-396)
      Douglas Hyatt

      Jane Bertrand has assembled a very thought-provoking chapter. To me, at least, at its essence is the basic question, ‘Why should Canadian society be willing to accept lesser standards of qualification for those working in all manner of early childhood education settings than it does for teachers of other young children? The evidence that exists, and probably most people’s intuition, points to the essential nature of appropriate stimulation of young children in helping to place them on lifelong development paths. The dependency on these paths established at early ages may well end up closing doors for the child later in...

    • 28. The Need for a Well-Trained Child Care Workforce
      (pp. 397-402)
      Marta Juorio

      Working with young children is rewarding and challenging. Caregivers who are well adapted to the job often turn their dedication into a long-term commitment. ‘Caregiver’ is a term used globally to describe the many individuals who work with children in early childhood settings. In essence, the nature of the work is similar, but the variety of their work environments shows the fragmented nature of child care in Canada. The differences described by Bertrand reflect the wide range of needs families and children have. It is difficult to define the key common features of the ‘child care profession.’ A teacher teaches,...

    • Author’s Response
      (pp. 403-406)
      Jane Bertrand

      Canada’s youngest children and their families need a comprehensive system to support early child development and parenting. Such a system could include all the fragmented, isolated programs that now exist in isolation. But to bring together child care centres, nursery schools, and preschool programs, family resource programs, kindergarten, early intervention programs, parenting and family literacy initiatives, and family child care is a daunting challenge. An early childhood workforce would help build bridges between programs and services. Common post-secondary credentials and opportunities for ongoing education and development are essential to the development of a competent early childhood workforce.

      First‚ I do...

    • Discussion
      (pp. 407-408)

      The discussion on this topic returned to some of the themes that had emerged earlier in the session on quality. Several questioners focused on the problem of how to adjust training requirements to the reality 70 per cent of the child care now being provided was in the informal sector, where all the workers were essentially unregulated. That being the case, one questioner asked whether further training for the 30 per cent of workers in the formal sector should be our highest priority. Some argued for the need for different standards for family home child care workers. Annette LaGrange suggested...

  13. Conclusions
    (pp. 409-416)
    Gordon Cleveland and Michael Krashinsky

    We believe, as we concluded at the end of our policy study on the costs and benefits of a universal program of early childhood education in Canada, that there are good reasons to invest considerable public money in child care. The phrase is hackneyed -worn thin by repetition at after-dinner speeches -but still true: children are our future. The benefits of developmental early childhood experiences to children and their families, and through them to society as a whole, are considerable. Many countries already provide extensive early childhood development services for children above two years of age; without any federal financial...