A collection of publications written by Atkinson Centre team members, in addition to important articles, documents and reports related to early learning and child care.


Market Basket Measure

Annual ECE wage compared to Market Basket Measure (MBM) thresholds for 2 adults/2 children by region.

Why doesn’t Canada let schools provide child care?

Posted on The Conversation.

Excerpt: "Child care delivered by schools has many advantages. Schools are publicly owned, eliminating the need for costly land and facility acquisition. Operating and oversight mechanisms are already in place. Consolidating learning and care for children of all ages in one neighbourhood location reduces its carbon footprint. Parents are spared the hassle of multiple trips between school and child care. Additionally, research finds publicly funded early childhood programs delivered by schools score high in quality."

Canada’s child-care investment needs to advance climate change policy goals

Posted on The Conversation.

Excerpt: "On Oct. 8 last year, the United Nations Human Rights Council recognized that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right. Further to this, a historical ruling by the United Nations Child Rights Committee decided a country can be held accountable for the negative impacts of its carbon emissions on children both within and beyond its territory. Canada is investing $27 billion in early learning and child care. All 13 provinces and territories signed onto the agreement with a promise of reducing parent fees and increasing access for children zero to five years of age. Canada’s federal early learning and child-care investment is an opportunity to think green within the early learning and child-care sector and re-evaluate the status quo. It’s a chance to ensure sustainability and climate goals are incorporated both in short- and long-term policies, and in current programs and classrooms."

Canada’s Children Need a Professional Early Childhood Education Workforce

Posted on Early Childhood Education Report.

In 2021, the Government of Canada committed to providing sustained funding to provinces and territories to expand access to more affordable child care. The ultimate goal is to create a Canada-wide early learning and child care plan to drive economic growth, support women’s workforce participation, and give every Canadian child a head start. Achieving these objectives requires a qualified early childhood education workforce.

The early childhood education workforce is large, with 300,000 plus members representing more than1% of the working population. Workforce members can be found in many sectors, including licensed 1 child care, health, education, family support, and settlement services. Every Canadian jurisdiction has legislation governing the provision of regulated, or licensed,1 child care services. This report focuses on those working in child care centres or group care. It provides a status report on today’s child care workforce and the challenges it faces, along with promising practices. It concludes with a series of recommendations. The intent is to draw attention to the centrality of educators in creating Canada’s newest social program and the policies and resources they require to make it a success.

Information was compiled using data from Statistics Canada; extensive discussions with early childhood educators, program leaders, and government officials; and reviews of recent workforce surveys and provincial/territorial reports.

Children across Canada deserve a professional early childhood education workforce

Posted on The Conversation.

Excerpt: "Half the child-care workforce barely earn above the minimum wage. Almost 70 per cent report that their salary does not adequately reflect the skill and knowledge their work requires. Enrolment challenges in programs brought on by the pandemic resulted in layoffs and unpredictable hours, leading to ECEs leaving the sector to work elsewhere where they earn more. Evaluating educators’ work using pay equity tied to comparable jobs in the public sector would place child care workers on par with their public counterparts. Recruitment and retention challenges aren’t seen in publicly operated child-care centres where educators are paid substantially more, are unionized and have access to professional development and career opportunities."

Monitor Assess Share: The Early Childhood Education Report, An Evaluation

Excerpt: "In October 2021, the Atkinson Centre commissioned an evaluation to inform future editions of the ECER in the context of past experiences and in light of the intended development of a Canada -Wide Early Learning and Child Care system. This new policy direction and accompanying increase in public investment will require comprehensive data collection and monitoring to promote children’s equitable access to quality programming and provide accountability for public funding.
Dr. David Philpott, a recently retired professor from Memorial University with an extensive research and publication history, conducted the review. A total of 93 key informants representing four groups participated in the research: government officials in divisions of early learning and child care; academics and advocates; faculty in Early Childhood Education (ECE) training programs; and the ECER’s authors and funders, who provided background information, analytics and suggested key informants."

What Ontario parents really need to know about the new early learning and child care agreement

Posted on The Conversation.

Excerpt: "The early learning and care workforce is female dominated and racialized. It’s among the lowest-paid sectors even compared to other female-dominated jobs requiring similar education and experience.

When compared to male professions with similar education and training requirements, the wage gap is even more staggering, and shows how our society’s devaluation of labour related to educating and caring for young children is deeply gendered."

Feedback on ELCC Legislation submitted to the Federal Secretariat on ELCC

Excerpt: "The Atkinson Centre at OISE/University of Toronto and Institute for Change Leaders hosted a Virtual Roundtable - Have your say about Canada’s new Early Learning and Child Care Legislation, on March 9, 2022. The event was in response to February 11 correspondence from the Federal Secretariat on Early Learning and Child Care seeking feedback on legislation to enshrine the principles of a Canada-wide child care system in law and support a lasting federal commitment over time. The following is a summary from the roundtable."

Is Full-Day Kindergarten a Success? (Video)

Posted on TVO Today.

Excerpt: "We'll be looking back at more than a decade of full-day kindergarten in Ontario. How well has it worked? Were the original concerns about it warranted? And has it accomplished its goals. With guests Jane Bertrand of OISE at the University of Toronto; the Toronto Star's Kristin Rushowy, and the University of Toronto's Elizabeth Dhuey."

How parents can be ‘emotion coaches’ as kids navigate back-to-school during COVID-19

Posted on The Conversation.

Excerpt: "Among the parents we studied, we found that women with a history of early life adversity were the most vulnerable to mental health problems. But men with a history of early life adversity were still at greater risk for mental health problems than men without such early adversity."

Canadian election 2021: Will the national child-care plan survive?

Posted on The Conversation.

Excerpt: "Today’s Liberals have shown more gumption than in 2005 when they caved in to provincial demands in their rush to get everyone on side before the opposition forced an election. To date, Ottawa has stood firm on its criteria for non-profit delivery, better trained staff and — what they’re banking on as the vote-grabber — marked-down fees for parents. Any provincial proposals coming forward without these pillars get sent back to their respective capitals."

Ontario, not Quebec, holds the model for child care

Posted on The Globe and Mail.

Excerpt: "Surprise! No jurisdiction in Canada is better equipped to create a system of high-quality, accessible early learning and child care; a system that can reduce inequalities in a way comparable to schools and health care. Ontario already provides early learning to a quarter-million – 90 per cent – of four- and five-year-olds in its kindergarten classrooms and requires schools to provide before- and after-school care where parents want it. More than half the province´s schools already have child care, and a billion-dollar capital program is under way to add more. Building on your existing public assets is the secret sauce in bringing high-quality early learning and child care to a neighbourhood near you. Ontario leads that parade."