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Characteristics of child care centres serving children aged 0 to 5 years in Canada, 2021 to 2022

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Charters, T. J. & Findlay, L. C.
Publication Date: 
22 Mar 2023


A significant increase in the use of child care for children aged 0 to 5 years has occurred over the past several decades, particularly the use of centre-based care. In 2021, the federal government committed over $27.2 billion in funding through bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system. The current study describes findings from the 2022 Canadian Survey on the Provision of Child Care Services (CSPCCS), which is the first national survey to provide a snapshot of child care services in Canada. Nationally comparable data are critical as a benchmark of the state of child care in Canada to measure change over time and to inform future policy development. Results suggest that there were 12,664 child care centres across Canada providing care to children aged 0 to 5 years in April 2022. About 9 in 10 centres offered full-time care, two-thirds offered part-time care, and one-third offered before- or after-school care. Less common options included drop-in or flexible care (16%) and care during evenings, on weekends or overnight (2%), suggesting that there are few centre-based care options for parents who work non-standard hours. Around half of the centres were not for profit or government operated and had made accommodations for at least one child with a disability, and more than two-thirds of their staff had an early childhood education diploma or certificate, or higher. In terms of the impact of COVID-19, 95% of centres had experienced at least one negative impact in the year prior to the survey, 42% reported one to three impacts and 53% reported four or more negative impacts. Although the CSPCCS provides recent national information on the provision of child care services (as of April 2022), several limitations with respect to the sampling frame and the questionnaire were noted to inform future data collection activities.