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Early learning and child care as key economic infrastructure

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Publication Date: 
1 Mar 2021

Excerpted from introduction

Investments in early childhood education and caer ("ELCC") can help put Canada on a higher trend economic growth path. A high-qulaity ELCC program that young children can attend for several years, where education is provided using a curriculum-based program delivered by trained educators can provide several benefits inlcuding:

Benefits to children: Investments can have positive impacts on the outcomes for children, including better behavioural/ social skills, better mental and physical health, and better long-term labour market outcomes. 

Increase in the labour participation of women: Expanding early childhood education can have a positive impact economic impact through a  resulting boost in the labour participation of women.

Benefits to parents: Beyond increasing workforce participation for women, early learning and child care can help reduce parental stress, which benefits their mental health and intern benefits their children, work performance, and standard of living.

Promotion of equality: there is also evidence that investment in early learning and child care disproportionately benefit lower income Canadians and this can help address socioeconomic challenges, such as income inequality.

Decreased reliance on special needs education: there is evidence of the sustained impact of early learning and child care on reducing the need  for special education in the US, UK, Canada, and other advanced economies. 

These gains create additional income that provide tax revenues to governments and reduce the demand for government transfers and other support programs. The purpose of this report is to highlight the literature on early childhood education to demonstrate why further investments are necessary and how we can achieve a preferably universal system of early learning and child care that will benefit our economy and society.