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Early childhood education and care reform in Canadian provinces: Understanding the role of experts and evidence in policy change

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Volume 59, Issue 1, pages 26–44, March 2016
White, Linda A. & Prentice, Susan
Publication Date: 
23 Mar 2016



In over half of Canada’s provinces, a recent commission has recommended major reform of ECEC systems; in response, provincial governments in nearly all cases have chosen to implement full-day kindergarten funded by the province and delivered through public schools. We analyze the commission processes that led to changes to investigate the relationship between experts, policy makers, and policy outcomes. Our analysis of processes in BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and PEI leads us to conclude that governments rarely fully implement the programs supported by the evidence base and recommended by their own experts. Instead, recent policy changes have been driven by a highly selective and pathdependent approach to the complex issue of early childhood care and education.