Kids First Parents Association of Canada

Costs—Daycare, Preschool, All-Day Kindergarten

"Measure all costs"
RAND Corporation
"Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of Early
Childhood Interventions"

Full Costs Never Openly Discussed or Grossly Underestimated

"I don't have a dollar figure"
Dr. Hillel Goelman, Director
Human Early Leaning Partnership, UBC
The Province, Sep 27, 2000

"$10 billion annually which is still less than 1% of GDP"
Canadian Union of Public Employees

"$8,500 per year per child"
"The Benefits & Costs of Good Child Care"
Cleveland & Krashinsky, Univ. of Toronto p56

"The OECD recommended that Canada boost its child care spending to the OECD average of about 0.4 per cent of GDP"
"Daycare: the debate over space" Feb 11/09 CBC

"We encourage efforts to bring overall Canadian access and expenditure up to the OECD levels"
OECD Thematic Review of Canadian Early Childhood Education and Care: Highlights from the recommendations

Some Dollar Figures

Sweden 2007

$26,972 per year per child age 1-5
Assoc. of Swedish Regional and Municipal Governments
link at

Quebec 2005

$15,700/yr/space paid to non-profit centres per child 0-18 months $11,500/yr/space 18-59 months but…. operating costs only "Low Fee Regulated Childcare Policy CIRPEE" p22 footnote


$50,000,000 - one-time government contribution for staff pensions

Quebec 1999

$1,000,000 6 months of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in daycare kids18-36 months Can. Paediatric Society. "Health implications of children in child care centres Part B: Injuries and infections"


Fees charged - up to $70/day $18,000+/yr - cover only 50% of centre operating costs.

BC 1999

$1,217/month ($14,604/yr) for infant/toddler care
$8,592/yr 3 to 5 year olds
$3,816/yr school-age children but…
operating costs only
BC Government, Building a Better Future for BC's Kids, p.4, 1999

US military daycare 1998

US$ 15,217/yr infants
$11,827 2 year olds
$7,679 6-12. Excluded: capital, rent, large repairs, regulation

Full Costs Include…

"Costs measured should include not only budgetary costs but off-budget social resources (such as the value of donated time or space) that could have been used for other purposes."
RAND Corporation "Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions"

All Subsidies

$ from all 3 levels of govt.
$ for free/below market rent, utilities, etc
$ in-kind and cash donations
$ volunteer and student practicum time
$ from religious institutions & other charities
$ from universities
For example, UBC pays rent, administration, janitorial and repair services for its daycare worth "$1,800 per space per year NOT including rent."
"Child Care Directors' Report to Daycare Council Annual General Meeting" 2006

Daycare/Preschool Centre Operation

$ for insurance, administration, rent, repairs, cleaning
$ for staff: wages, benefits, pensions, volunteers' time
$ for furnishings, supplies, heat, light, utilities, food


$ for building(s), land, renovations, major repairs


$ for diplomas, degrees, in-service, upgrading


$ for related ministries, monitoring, licensing, inspection, research


$ for child & parent illness, absenteeism, "super-bugs"

Loss of Unpaid Workers

$ as policy discourages parental child care: value for lost unpaid care-work for elderly & disabled, as well as lost volunteer-time for schools, Scouts, arts, sports, religious, political and cultural organizations

No Economies of Scale

Full costs mean there are no "economies of scale" in centre-based child care/learning.

Institutional child care/learning has many special costs caused by the type of care itself due to:
  • hygiene concerns
  • safety concerns
  • the need for training when dealing with groups of unrelated children
  • the fact children are cared for by people their parents don't know
There is also a massive duplication of resources available in homes, parks, community centres, libraries, eg:
  • space
  • furnishings, toys, supplies

Daycare/Preschool Utopia Not Found

High Quality Universal Care & Learning?

Even Sweden admits "a problem of quality", "too few staff", etc. "Pre-school in Transition" link at

Improved Child Outcomes Lower Social Costs?

Not after 40+ yrs of Head Start in the US inner cities or after 30+ yrs in Sweden or £3 billion of Sure Start in the UK or 10 yrs in Quebec

Social Cohesion?

Not in race-riot-prone France after years of near universal preschool

More Bang for the Buck



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work with all parties and all interests to seek equality for all families.

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