Despite being generally viewed as homogenous, the four provinces that make up Atlantic Canada have quite different Early Childhood Education and Care systems. Through in-depth interviews of policy actors within the four Atlantic Canadian provinces completed in 2011, this article illustrates that Prince Edward Island had an ‘inclusive liberal' childcare system. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick mixed elements of ‘inclusive liberalism and ‘neo-liberalism' in their childcare systems; and Newfoundland had a ‘neo-liberal' childcare system. It is argued that the movements towards ‘inclusive liberal' childcare systems in Atlantic Canada were engendered through an alliance of bureaucratic champions and unified childcare sectors. Using ideas that linked improved childcare with economic growth, childcare organizations and bureaucratic champions were able to take advantage of opportunities presented by new circumstances in their childcare systems to engender structural reforms.