Does Daycare Lower ‘Child Poverty’ and Get Mums into Jobs? Quebec Experiment Results: No

Data from “ECEC 2004” published by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit at the University of Toronto


  • Regulated daycare expenditure: $1.56 billion.

  • “Spaces” are available for only 29.9% of kids age 0-12. (Quebec would have to triple expenses to $4.5 billion to cover 90% of children and make daycare almost universal). NOTE: 40% of Quebec daycares reported vacancies (from Statistics Canada “You Bet I Care!” report).

  • Enrollment is calculated in “spaces”: Funding is for “spaces” not for “children”. Enrollment figures are not provided, nor is there a break down of full-time and part-time usage. This means that although a “space” is funded for “full-time” or maximum use, at any given time many spaces are empty.

  • Costs per “child care space” in daycare are $4,849.

  • Costs per “child” in the province (ie if they spread it out per capita for children 0-12) are $1,448.

  • Daycare doesn’t lower “child poverty ” rates afterall. Low income rates for kids in 2003 (LICO=low income cut off ): LICO for all Canada for ages under 18 is 17.6%. Quebec’s child LICO rates are higher than those of Ontario where daycare expenditures are less (see Ontario section below). Quebec LICO rates are as follows:


    Quebec daycare is not doing much to reduce low income rates there. Giving the $1,448 per kid to the parents would.

  • Mothers’ Labour Force Participation Rates (daycare is supposed to make big difference):

This shows that Quebec’s mothers do not have a higher than average labour force participation rate except for mums of kids age 0-2. Alberta, which has a low daycare expenditure, has a higher rate of labour force participation for mums of children age 6-12. PEI (a low expenditure province also) has the highest rate for mums of all ages of children.


  1. Expenditure per “child care space” in daycare: $2,406.

  2. Costs per “child” in the province (i.e. if they spread it out per capita for children 0-12) are $258.

  3. LICO (low income rates): Daycare is said to lower “child poverty”. It doesn’t—Ontario has a lower LICO rate than big daycare Quebec:
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