Giving Compass' Take:
- Jackie Mader describes how advocates for federally-funded child care organized over 50 years to establish Canada's first national child care system.
- What lessons can U.S. advocates for federally funded child care take away from Canada's example?
- Learn more about the current crisis in funding U.S. childcare.
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In 2021, Canada’s leaders committed $30 billion (about $24 billion in U.S. dollars) over five years to the country’s first federally-funded child care system. The new system aims to provide child care for an average of $10 a day in licensed settings, with plans to create an additional 250,000 spots for children by 2026.
This movement came after decades of structured, organized advocacy, much of which started after the commission’s report. Child care has been a cornerstone of the feminist movement in Canada, and parents and various nonprofit groups have partnered to champion the cause. Canadian labor groups have also supported the efforts, something that has recently become a more prominent strategy in the United States, especially after efforts to pass child care legislation faltered in 2022.
More recently, advocates have presented child care as a public good and a right, similar to K-12 education.
Having women in positions of power was crucial to ushering the proposed program through Parliament in 2021, experts say, despite continued opposition from some conservative lawmakers.
Canada’s example of a federally-supported child care system may be of particular interest in the United States, and one many child care advocates hope to see here. But although the two countries are close — both geographically and in terms of having diverse populations spread out over a sprawling country — there is a key, social difference that Canadian experts point to that helped pave the way for this type of investment in child care. Long before the pandemic, far more Canadians than Americans embraced the idea that the government should offer extensive, universal support to families.
Read the full article about Canada's national child care system by Jackie Mader at The Hechinger Report.