Daycare Dis-information Buster: Creating False Impressions with “Child Care” Words and Numbers

Helen Ward
Kids First Parent Association of Canada

The daycare lobby has created the impression that most children are in daycare most of the time.

A game with the meaning of “child care” is why many believe that 50 % or even 70 % or more children are in, or “need”, daycare. This is a key part of the daycare dis-information campaign.

A 10 year old going to a neighbour’s house after school for two hours a week can be lumped statistically with a newborn in a daycare centre for 13 hours/day, 7 days/week (maximum allowed in BC).

How did they create this impression?


  • They never publicize actual enrolment data which are very difficult to obtain.

  • They never publicize the fact that most children in daycare are only part-time.

  • They fail to distinguish between care for children at different developmental stages: babies, toddlers, little children, etc. have different needs.

  • They fail to distinguish between situations: e.g. between care by someone who has a life-long commitment to the child and to whom the child is attached to—e.g. a grandpa—and care by a paid staff person.

  • They fail to distinguish by time spent in a situation.


They use totally different, incompatible definitions of “child care” or “early learning” or “early childhood development” depending on what the situation is.

  • Sometimes ALL types of care are included (e.g. CPRN poll showing huge support for “child care”).

  • Sometimes it is participation in any kind of CHILD PROGRAM, even prenatal classes, mum and baby drop-ins, library, etc.

  • Sometimes it means ANY kind of NON-MATERNAL care, including care by dads. (e.g. the US NICHD).

  • Sometimes it means ANY kind of NON-PARENTAL care from grandma to full time daycare centre from birth, to being without direct supervision for a while for older children (“self care”).

  • Sometimes it means NON-PARENTAL CARE WHILE PARENT WORKS OR STUDIES (e.g. Statistics Canada Feb. 2005).

  • Sometimes it includes ANYTHING OTHER THAN BY MOTHER WHILE SHE DOES NO PAID WORK, and includes care by mum while she does paid work, kindergarten, nanny, sibling, etc. (e.g. Stats Canada “Where are the Children?” which found over 70 % in “supplemental care” ).

So ANY situation a child is in can be counted as “child care” and then confused with “daycare.”

But when it comes to FUNDING, “childcare” means government-registered daycare. And daycare centres always gets far more money than home-daycare. This is the controversial “fine print” definition in the 2005 ELCC agreements signed by the provinces. These also allows funding for government-registered preschools: this enables them to claim they offer “choices” and something for so-called “at-home” parents.

Federal-Provincial Early Learning and Child Care Agreements-in-Principal

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