Growth by Design

Child care expansion in Canada

Growth by Design is a three year research project on child care expansion in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Through policy analysis and engagement with the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) sector in Canada, and internationally, the project investigates the barriers and opportunities to achieving the expansion targets in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) agreements.

In 2021 the federal government committed to start building a Canada-wide system of early learning and child care (CWELCC) in partnership with the provinces, territories and Indigenous governments. The federal 2021 budget allocated $27 billion to the project, including a significant sum for Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care. The federal government then negotiated 5-year CWELCC agreements setting out specific goals for making licensed child care programs more affordable, more accessible, more inclusive and higher quality..

Child Care Now has received funding from Employment and Social Development Canada’s Early Learning and Child Care Innovation Program  to conduct a three year research project on child care expansion in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Through policy analysis and engagement with the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) sector in Canada, and internationally, the project investigates the barriers and opportunities to increase the supply of not-for-profit and public child care in Canada.

Growth by Design aims to:

  • Identify the barriers and facilitators that impact the capacity of public and not-for-profit providers to expand licensed ELCC
  • Engage the not-for-profit ELCC community, ELCC allies and public stakeholders in innovative thinking and capacity building to expand access to affordable, accessible and high quality ELCC
  • Identify, describe and assess innovative practices and public policies that support the expansion of not-for-profit and public ELCC
  • Increase awareness and enable knowledge transfer about the effective mechanisms and innovative practices to support the expansion of quality, affordable, accessible not-for-profit and public ELCC

The work is being undertaken in three phases. The team will:

  1. Track the policies and progress of Canadian provinces and territories toward meeting the CWELCC targets
  2. Examine international approaches to ELCC expansion in selected countries, to identify effective governance and funding models for expansion of public and non-profit ELCC
  3. Conduct six in depth case studies in six Canadian jurisdictions: Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia and Nunavut.

We will produce reports and resources for the ELCC sector, policy makers and researchers to use and share.

Morna Ballantyne

Morna Ballantyne

Executive Director

Now a grandmother, Morna Ballantyne began advocating for more high quality, affordable, inclusive licensed child care when her first child was born. For 40 years, she has worked with others to develop and advance evidence-based public policy options to address systemic barriers to child care access in Canada. She serves as the Executive Director of Child Care Now, Canada’s national child care advocacy association. It brings together individuals and organizations who seek to participate in the building of a high quality, publicly‑funded system of ELCC. She has extensive leadership experience and works professionally as a consultant, strategic planner and facilitator. She has significant subject expertise in social policy, labour relations and human resources, human rights, and strategic communications. Morna served on the Government of Canada’s Task Force on Women in the Economy. She was also a member of the Expert Panel on ELCC Data and Research.

Jane Beach

Jane Beach

Project Lead

Jane Beach is an early childhood education and care (ECEC) research and policy consultant, based in Victoria, British Columbia. Over the past 25 years, Jane’s consulting work has ranged from large-scale national and international studies on various aspects of child care policy to local child care planning and organizational reviews. She has been co-lead for several pan-Canadian initiatives focused on human resources in the ECEC sector, including two ECEC sector studies, the development of a training strategy for the early childhood sector, a study on the various pathways to ECE credentialing across the country, a study of emerging issues in child care, and the You Bet We Still Care! Canada-wide survey of wages and working conditions of staff and employers working in licensed group care. Prior to her work as a policy and research consultant, Jane worked on ECEC in two provincial governments, in municipal government, and in the voluntary and private sectors.

Liz Adamson

Liz Adamson

Research & Policy Coordinator

Liz started her role as the Research & Policy Coordinator at Child Care Now for the Innovation Grant project, ‘Growth by Design’, in September 2023. Canadian-born and raised, Liz moved to Australia in 2009 for a three-month internship looking at Australian ECEC policy – and ended up staying for 14 years. She completed her PhD on comparative approaches to funding and regulation of in-home child care in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom; and as a Research Fellow at UNSW she worked on various projects and evaluations on ECEC and family policy, for both government and non-government. She is currently a Partner Investigator on an Australian Research Council grant looking at grandparent child care, and a Research Associate on the Reimagining Care/Work Policies project. As a social policy researcher and mother to three young children, she is passionate and committed to building policy evidence that can inform the expansion of affordable, accessible and high quality ELCC for all children and families in Canada.

Marni Flaherty

Marni Flaherty

Interim Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Child Care Federation

Marni Flaherty is the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Child Care Federation. CCCF, supporting an ECE community united for children, is a diverse community of educators, policy makers, and families committed to giving the children of today the headstart they need tomorrow. Marni is the former C.E.O. of Today’s Family Early Learning and Child Care, a child care agency currently serving 6,000 families in Hamilton, Halton, Haldimand Norfolk and Oxford  County and employing more than 400 Early Childhood Educators, support staff and licensed home child care providers.

Chris Smith

Christopher Smith

Associate Executive Director, Muttart Foundation

Christopher Smith, Ph.D., is the Associate Executive Director for the Muttart Foundation, a private charitable foundation based in Edmonton. He has lead responsibility for the Foundation’s work in the area of ELCC. Christopher is a member of the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care, serves on the Steering Committee for the Community University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families at the University of Alberta, and is a member of the Edmonton Council for Early Learning and Care. He formerly served as a member of the Expert Panel on ELCC Data and Research, and was the former chair of the Success by 6 Council of Partners for the Alberta Capital Region.

Martha Friendly

Martha Friendly

Executive Director, Childcare Resources and Research Unit

Martha Friendly is the executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, which she founded in the 1980s. She has been a policy researcher and advocate for a Canada-wide universal childcare program for more than 40 years with substantial expertise in childcare and family policy, publishing extensively in academic, technical and popular venues. A social science researcher by education, she was a researcher on the US Head Start program in the 1960s. After immigrating to Canada in 1971 and becoming a parent at the York University Co-operative Child Care Centre, childcare became a personal avocation as well as a key feminist issue. Ever since, Martha has been a childcare policy researcher and a persistent activist in the struggle for universal high quality childcare—locally, provincially and Canada-wide. Her two biggest thrills in the last 10 years: becoming a grandmother of twin boys (who were lucky enough to go to excellent public child care in Toronto), and still being part of the Canadian child care movement when the federal government finally began to put in place the childcare system for which we’ve been advocating for 50 years.

Susan Prentice

Susan Prentice

Duff Roblin Professor of Government at the University of Manitoba

Susan Prentice holds the Duff Roblin Professor of Government at the University of Manitoba. A feminist sociologist, she specializes in family policy with a focus on current and historical childcare policy. She has published widely, for academic, practitioner, and popular audiences. Susan is committed to public sociology, and works closely with social movements to promote policy change.

Sandra Menzer

Sandra Menzer

Consultant

Sandra Menzer is an independent child care consultant based in New Westminster B.C. She brings over 30 years of experience in the non-profit community and public services sector and is a respected, influential leader. She is a passionate advocate for child care, children, and families; is well versed in the BC and Canada policy contexts with experience at the policy, planning, development, and operational levels.
Sandra has focused on non- profit agencies and local/senior governments in BC. She has led the development of 25 + local government Child Care Action Plans, written Planning Guidelines for the Union of BC Municipalities, supported the development of over 1500 child care spaces and facilitated agency planning for a wide range of large and small non-profits.
Prior to offering consulting services, Sandra was the Executive Director of the non-profit Vancouver Society of Children’s Centres for nearly twenty (20) years where she spearheaded the development of over 1000 new licensed child care spaces.

Christine McLean

Christine McLean

Chair of the Child and Youth Study program at Mount Saint Vincent University

Dr. Christine McLean, Associate Professor and Chair of the Child and Youth Study program at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been involved in the Early Learning and Child Care sector in Atlantic Canada for the past 35 years. She is a former chair of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, former executive member of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Nova Scotia, a former chair of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador, and a former vice-chair of the Canadian Association for Research in Early Childhood. Currently, Christine is a member of the National Advisory Council on ELCC, executive member of the Canadian Association for Young Children, and member of the Nova Scotia Minister’s ELCC Engagement Table.