These studies demonstrate the cost effectiveness of organizing early childhood programs so they stimulate children’s early development as they allow parents to work. When expanding access to early childhood programming, most provinces persist in maintaining the historic legislative and funding schism between educational programs such as kindergarten and child care, the latter which operates under social welfare. Leaving families to bridge the divide is not only frustrating for parents and children, but as the above studies quantify, it also denies taxpayers the full benefit of their investment.
Following the money confirms that effective early childhood programs are:
To receive maximum financial efficiencies and social benefits, provinces and territories are advised to organize and fund programs to meet these goals. The federal government also holds responsibility; it currently makes a very modest contribution to early childhood programming. Ongoing funds from residual federal programs now rolled into the Canada Social Transfer total $1.1 billion annually, compared to over $7.5 billion invested by the provinces and territories.
The economic analyses confirm the windfall the federal government derives from the investments provinces, territories and regional governments make in child care. Ottawa does “nothing,” to quote Fortin, but takes in a substantial portion of the increased tax revenue from working parents and benefits from the lower social payments it makes to families. The figures provide a sound rationale for increased federal investments in early childhood, or at the very least, form a strong case for provinces to demand reimbursement for a share of their early childhood investments that benefit federal coffers.
Next: Chapter 4: Figures
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