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Publicly funded child care for increased female labour force participation

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Policy Options, 33(7), August 2012
Liu, Deborah
Publication Date: 
1 Aug 2012


Although there has been an increase in the employment of women with children in the past three decades in Canada, the availability of child care is varied and inconsistent across the country. This article explores this issue, focusing on Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec. Research shows that Quebec's
publicly funded child care program and Manitoba's approach of set fees for centre-based and low-cost commercial care have a positive impact on maternal employment. Alberta's market- based approach and high child care costs mean there is less support for mothers. Nevertheless, the author argues that other factors such as the level of female education, labour market conditions, leave provisions and cultural attitudes should be considered to fully understand how child care policies affect female labour force participation.