90% of Canadians Support National Child Care Plan, 86% Want Publicly Funded System

Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada / Canadian Child Care Federation, Ottawa

With a federal budget expected in February, 90% of Canadians say they strongly agree (51%) or agree (39%) with the statement “Canada should have a nationally-co-ordinated child care plan.” And 86% strongly agree (32%) or agree (54%) that “There can be a publicly funded child care system that makes quality child care available to all Canadian children.”

These are some of the initial findings of a poll released today by the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF) and the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC). The poll of 1,200 Canadians was conducted by Millward Brown Goldfarb.

“Canadians are sending a loud and clear signal that they view the creation of a national, publicly funded child care plan as a high priority,” said CCAAC Executive Director Maryann Bird. “The Canadian government ought to show that it has received the message by making a substantial, multi-year commitment to such a plan in the upcoming budget.”

Bird also noted that “Canada has fallen behind almost all OECD countries in providing child care. Even the U.S. is moving ahead of us on this. It’s time we caught up. Canada should be a leader not a laggard.”

Other polling results revealed:

  • 90% of Canadians either strongly agree (44%) or agree (46%) with the statement “I believe government could do more to ensure that all Canadians have access to quality child care”;
  • 96% believe that the quality of Canadian child care can be improved by “regulating all child care services to meet quality standards”;
  • 93% say that child care is very important (71%) or important (22%) to “allowing women to participate in the workforce”; and,
  • 90% strongly agree (41%) or agree (49%) that “quality child care is essential to the prosperity of Canada”.

“I think it’s especially significant that people overwhelmingly recognize the importance of quality child care to our economy,” said CCCF Executive Director Sandra Griffin. “Quality child care is a vital long-term investment in children and provides an immediate benefit for parents by allowing them to work.”

Griffin added that “in the 21st century, child care may be the single most important investment we can make to improve our productivity and quality of life. Experts tell us that for every $1 we invest in early childhood education and child care, we get $2 or $3 in return. I can’t imagine a single businessperson who wouldn’t be happy with that kind of return on investment.

“But the key to getting the return is investing in the right kind of child care. We’ll only get the quality we need from regulated settings with well-trained and well-paid staff.”

The Millward Brown Goldfarb survey was administered to a random, national-proportionate sample between November 27, 2002 and December 12, 2002. The results of such a sample of 1,200 are accurate to within +/- 2.9%, 19-out-of-20 times. Further results from the poll will be released later this winter.