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Child Care Expansion Would Boost Economic Recovery, Study Finds

Implementing a new national child care system would generate several important benefits for Canada’s economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, according to new research from the Centre for Future Work.

A universal national early learning and child care (ELCC) program would create over 200,000 direct jobs in child care centres, 100,000 more jobs in industries which support and supply the ELCC sector, and facilitate increased labour force participation and employment by up to 725,000 Canadian women in prime parenting years.

The report, prepared by economist Dr. Jim Stanford (Director of the Centre for Future Work), also projects large increases in Canadian GDP as a result of direct ELCC provision and increased female labour force participation. By the end of a 10-year implementation period, annual Canadian GDP would be $63 to $107 billion greater than it would have been without expanded child care.

Extra government revenues collected as a result of increased economic activity would add $17 to $29 billion to government coffers per year – split between the federal and provincial governments. That would be more than enough to cover the total costs of a national ELCC program.

The recent federal Throne Speech committed to a rapid roll-out of a new national ELCC plan. This research indicates that such a plan would add significant momentum to Canada’s macroeconomy in the wake of the pandemic.

Please read the full report, The Role of Early Learning and Child Care in Rebuilding Canada’s Economy after COVID-19. The report was commissioned by the Child Care Now coalition.

Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work. He divides his time between Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economic commentators. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union.