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How to create early childhood spaces: lessons from Quebec

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Quebec aims to create 37,000 subsidized spaces over five years. Strategies to attract and retain educators should inspire the rest of the country.
Mathieu, S.
Publication Date: 
15 May 2023

In April 2021, Ottawa announced with great fanfare an investment of $30 billion over five years to implement a national $10-a-day child care program across the country.

As Canada faces a labour shortage from coast to coast, difficulties in recruiting and retaining child-care workers could undermine provincial governments’ efforts to create spaces.

Quebec, which remains the North American leader in early childhood education, will receive a total of $6 billion from Ottawa, with no strings attached. It will use this money to complete its network of subsidized spaces.

The goal: creating spaces quickly

In the fall of 2021, the Legault government announced its “Grand chantier pour les familles,” an action plan to complete the network of early childhood education and care services by creating 37,000 new subsidized spaces over five years.

The plan proposes innovative solutions for attracting and retaining child-care workers, which the rest of the country could learn from, even though various indicators show that the new spaces will be of variable quality.

Quebec’s strategies include increasing the maximum number of children per facility from 80 to 100, streamlining the opening process for early childhood centers, and allowing temporary facilities to accommodate children before a facility construction or expansion project is finalized.

However, the crux of the matter is recruiting staff. Taking into account the need to create 37,000 new spaces, the government anticipates that 17,800 new educators will have to be hired.


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