Surprising Facts About Early Childhood Education in Canada

Take a look at the facts about early childhood education in Canada – some of them may surprise you.

The state of childcare in Canada might surprise you. Many factors including rising parent fees, the number of open spaces for children, location of facilities and types of childcare available can make it extremely difficult for parents to balance what is best for them and their child.

The following statistics become even more important when you consider that the demand for high quality child care is increasing. Parents are looking to child care facilities to offer programming and support for social development, school readiness, language and numeracy skills, in addition to basic supervision and care. The need for accessible, affordable and superior early childhood education will continue to increase as more and more families have two working parents.

Here’s a look at some of the most surprising facts about early childhood education in Canada today:

  • Fewer than 1 in 4 Canadian children have access to regulated childcare facilities. (
  • Canada’s spending on early childhood education and care is extremely low when compared to other OECD countries. Canada’s public spending on childcare is between 0.2% and 0.34% of the country’s GDP. (
  • Government spending on regulated childcare in 2011-2012 in Canada amounted to $3.7 billion – and the province of Quebec accounts for two-thirds of this spending. (Childhood Resource and Research Unit)
  • 60% of Canadian parents who rely on child care use a care giver on a full-time basis – at least 30 hours per week. (Statistics Canada)
  • Average childcare costs for parents in Ontario range from $835 to $1,152 per month. (Childhood Resource and Research Unit)
  • Fees for early childhood care are higher than university tuition costs in almost all provinces and territories. (Moving Child Care Forward)
  • 33% of parents say that the location of a child care service provider is the leading reason behind their decision. (Statistics Canada)
  • Only 18% of parents stated that trust in a child care provider was the most important element of deciding which child care option they choose. (Statistics Canada)
  • Just 69% of parents are very satisfied with the overall quality of their child care arrangements. (Statistics Canada)
  • About 75% of employees who are working in early childhood education have a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate, in comparison to just 57% of workers in all occupations across Canada. (Time for Preschool)

Did any of these current facts about early childhood education in Canada surprise you? To learn about the origin of early childhood education and the many influences that make the field what it is today, check out our post about the history of early childhood education. For more updates on the state of child care in Canada, stay posted to the HiMama Blog where we’ll update you on the latest developments in child care legislation, news and more. If you’re in Ontario, you may want to check out one of our recent posts about How Does Learning Happen which comes into effect on August 31, 2015 as the named document for programming and pedagogy as part of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014

Ron Spreeuwenberg

Ron is the Co-Founder & CEO of HiMama, where he leads all aspects of a social purpose business that helps early childhood educators improve learning outcomes for children.