Daycare Dis-information Buster: Under 10 % of Children in Daycare

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Helen Ward
Kids First Parent Association of Canada

Less than 10% of all children age 0-12 spend any time at all in any form of government-registered daycare, full-time or part-time.

Vanier Institute had a pie chart of Statistics Canada info in the back of a report that showed that only 3.9% of children 6-11 and 11.6% of children 0-5 are in any form of government-regulated daycare centre or home full-time or part-time.

This is from Profiling Canadian Families II chart 69a,b using 1995 data from Statistics Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children & Youth. This info was removed from their website. It was the only chart that showed the actual low usage. Though even here one must “do the math” to get the actual percentage: i.e. X% of Y% = Z%

Statistics Canada reported in Feb. 2005 that “Over half of Canadian children were in some form of child care by 2000/01 and a quarter of them were in a daycare centre.” The media left out “a quarter of them.” The daycare lobby relies on Canadian media to be seriously numerically challenged: a quarter of a half is 12.5.

And the definition of “child care” as “non-parental care while parents work or study” also got left out. So the message seemed to be that half of the children are in daycare.

This mis-information was strategically released days before the Fed-Prov leaders daycare talks in Vancouver on Feb 11, 2005 and was on the front pages. Statistics Canada had never done a media release on the topic before. It appears that this release was timed with the intention of biasing the discussion towards support for more funding for daycare.

Actually, only 11.5 % of children ages 6 months to 5 years were in daycare.

  • 47.5% of children ages 6 months to 5 years were in parental care while parents “worked or studied”.

  • 13.1% were in daycare while parent(s) “worked or studied”. BUT counting the 12% of children who do not have a parent who “works or studies” (why shouldn’t they be included?) this drops to 11.5%.

STATS CAN DOES NOT PUBLISH CLEAR DAYCARE DATA

Statistics Canada’s press release did not actually include the 13.1 % figure—I obtained it on request. And the 11.5% has to be calculated.

Statistics Canada, The Daily, Feb 7 2005