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The big short: Early childhood education expansion in post-pandemic Canada

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Dhuy, E., Pan, A., & Seward, B.
Publication Date: 
15 Jun 2022


The demand for early childhood educators is expected to grow as the Canadian economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and Canadians continue to return to work. To support this transition, the federal government has signed bilateral agreements with Canada’s territories and provinces to invest more than 30 billion dollars to create a “10 dollar a day” universal childcare system. This ambitious movement is a landmark in Canadian childcare, yet it is unclear whether Canada’s current pipeline of early childhood education graduates is sufficient to meet this increased demand. Using data from the Education and Labour Market Longitudinal Linkage Platform (ELMLP) we find that early childhood education program graduates tend to be concentrated in relatively few provinces, come from primarily college backgrounds, and acquire considerably modest labour market outcomes. We investigate the career transition of ECE graduates and find that low pay is the primary reason for field exit among ECE professionals. Policy implications of this potential shortfall in the supply of ECE professionals is discussed.