In Search of Child Care

Hennessy's Index: A number is never just a number

Hennessy's Index

Hennessy's Index is a monthly listing of numbers, written by the CCPA's Trish Hennessy, about Canada and its place in the world. For other months, visit:

  • 3 million

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

  • 75

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

  • 78.2

    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)

  • 28

    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 12)

  • 0.3

    Percentage of Canada’s GDP that is spent on early childhood education and child care, falling short of the one percent of GDP both UNICEF and the OECD recommend governments devote to such programs for children under five, as a minimum.  (Source 12)

  • $1,975

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

  • $154

    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)

  • 10,848

    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)

  • 379,386

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

  • 1970

    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. (Source: Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. 1970. Government of Canada: Ottawa.)

  • 3

    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)

  • $100

    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 12)

  • 50

    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)

December 1, 2012