A new report by Child Care Now provides a baseline for monitoring the expansion of licensed early learning and child care spaces across Canada since the implementation of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreements

Drawing primarily on data collected through the Childcare Resource and Research Unit’s Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada series, the report identifies the key historical trends in space expansion.

It shows the variation in growth of licensed spaces by age, ELCC type (centre-based, family), and auspice (not-for-profit, public and for-profit). It also highlights the wide variation in growth and distribution of spaces across jurisdictions. 

This report is the first output of Growth by Design, a three year project funded by Employment and Social Development Canada’s Early Learning and Child Care Innovation grant Program.

The CWELCC agreements provide funding to provinces and territories to expand the supply of licensed ELCC. To track how many, what kind and where spaces are being created, we must know the starting point and how new growth rates compare with growth in the past, and what policy mechanisms are most effective in encouraging the supply of public and not-for-profit spaces. 

Along with the ELCC growth since 2008 report, Growth by Design aims to contribute to the evidence by tracking and reporting on numbers, as well as by carrying out focused studies of growth in some provinces and territories. 

As part of this, Child Care Now has summarized current provincial and territorial funding initiatives to supply capital expansion of early learning and child care. It shows that across the provinces and territories, there are variations in the amount, eligibility and other conditions attached to grants and loan schemes. 

The project will also carry out a review of policy models in other countries from which Canada can learn effective approaches for expanding public and not-for-profit child care.