children playing

How $10-a-day childcare became reality in Canada - and what Australia can learn from it

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Clun, R.
Publication Date: 
2 Jul 2023


More than 25 years ago, the Canadian province of Quebec introduced universal, $5-a-day daycare.

Fast-forward to today, and Canada’s federal government is introducing $10-a-day universal early childhood education and care to the rest of the country.

The Australian government is currently looking at how to improve the country’s childcare system, and there are two broad reviews of the existing system being undertaken by the Productivity Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Canadian economist Professor Gordon Cleveland said in Canada, Australia is used as an example of what not to do in childcare policy.

“We would say you’re funding on the demand side, you’re funding parents rather than funding the services. That’s a bad thing to do,” he said.

“You’re enhancing the for-profit sector, which in general is not a great thing to do, and you haven’t done enough on the workforce.”


In its submission to the Productivity Commission’s review of early childhood education and care, the Centre for Policy Development said the system must be accessible for all families and must be high quality. For that to occur the current funding model must be reviewed, the submission said.

The Australian government has started the work of trying to ease cost pressures on families, committing $5.4 billion over four years to expand subsidies for childcare, starting from this month, but many facilities are also raising their fees to meet rising costs.

“Of course the investment into it is very welcome, [but] this subsidy is too blunt an instrument,” Brown said.