BY MAIJU PAANANEN | SEPTEMBER 30, 2015, published at Rabble in Canada
Child care has become a key issue in Election 2015. To support the public interest and political debate, the Childcare Resource and Research Unit’s blog, Child Care Now, will be published each week between August 12 and October 19. This is the seventh entry in the series. Read the first part here.
As an early childhood researcher newly arrived from Finland, the current Canadian debate about universal childcare has been somewhat baffling. In Finland, universal early childhood education and childcare (ECEC) means that if a child’s parents want her/him to attend, the municipality in which they live is obliged to provide them with a place irrespective of the parents’ work/life situation. Childcare is heavily publicly funded, with a maximum monthly parent fee equivalent to a few hundred Canadian dollars per month. Fees, which are based on parent income and family size, cover approximately 14 per cent of the total cost of ECEC. In international comparisons, the quality is considered quite high.