A number is never just a number: In search of child care

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3 million

Number of Canadian moms of children aged 12 or younger who work in the paid labour force. (Source)


Percentage of Canadian moms of children aged three to five who work in the paid labour force.  (Source)


Percentage of children under the age of six in Canada who don't have the option of regulated child care because there aren't enough spaces to go around. (Source)



Percentage of all child-care spaces across Canada that are operated for profit. It's the fastest growing segment of child-care provision in Canada. (Source and source)


Percentage of Canada's GDP that is spent on early childhood education and child care, falling short of the one per cent of GDP both UNICEF and the OECD recommend governments devote to such programs for children under five, as a minimum. (Source and source)


Monthly fee for an infant at a downtown Toronto non-profit child-care centre in November  2012 -- among the highest fees in Canada. (Source)


Monthly fee for a child-care space in Quebec, one of only three provinces with a low-fee policy in place. Quebec provides, by far, the lowest child-care fees in Canada. (Source)


Total number of child-care spaces for 0-12-year-olds in Saskatchewan, the province with the lowest percentage of children in regulated child care. (Source)  


Total child-care spaces for children under 12 in Quebec, the province with the highest percentage of children in regulated child care. (Source)  


Year the Royal Commission on the Status of Women first recommended a national child-care program. Thirty-five years later, the short-lived Paul Martin Liberal government began the process to implement that recommendation. Sources:  Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. (1970). Government of Canada: Ottawa.


Number of hours between Stephen Harper's first swearing-in as Prime Minister of Canada in 2006 and his cancellation of the Liberals' nascent national child-care program. (Source)


Amount of the monthly cheque Canadian families with a child under age six receive in lieu of a national child-care program. With the exception of Quebec, the cheque falls far short of average child-care fees, which are about five to 10 times higher than the value of the $100 after tax. (Source and source)


Percentage of child-care program costs that families in every province and territory outside of Quebec cover. The TD Bank says that's the fourth highest ratio among select OECD countries, where government investments help cover costs. (Source)

$1.50 to $3

Estimated return on investment for every dollar spent on early childhood education, according to the TD Bank. It's an even greater return for children from disadvantaged families. (Source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out on the first of each month in rabble.ca.

Photo: Barnaby Wasson/Flickr

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