V. Benchmarks focused on accountability

Monitoring is an integral part of democratic accountability to children, families and the public. It is essential for informed decision-making, ensuring that societal resources are deployed productively, resources distributed equitably and social goals reached. The challenge is to develop monitoring systems that capture how programs are operating, how children are developing and if system goals are being met. Monitoring on its own does not deliver results, although it is a crucial part of a larger system designed to achieve them.

Benchmark 17: Annual progress reports are current and posted (2011 or later)

Federal/provincial/territorial early childhood agreements include annual reporting by each jurisdiction on progress made in meeting the terms of the agreements.

As part of the March 2003 Multilateral Framework Agreement on Early Learning and Child Care governments committed to providing annual reports on early child programming, including the following information:

  • Descriptive and expenditure information on all early learning and child care programs and services;
  • Indicators of affordability, such as number of children receiving subsidies, income and social eligibility for fee subsidies and maximum subsidy by age of child; and
  • Indicators of quality, such as training requirements, child/caregiver ratios and group size, where available.*

The minimum benchmark proposed is that the responsible ministry/department/agency has published a comprehensive report on ECE services within the last three years (Figure 5.1). Quebec was not a signatory to the agreements and has its own reporting process.

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Benchmark 18: Standards for ECE programs (including kindergarten)

Learning outcomes for children cannot be considered apart from the inputs they experience in ECE settings. Standards governing health and safety, facilities and class size are important minimums for all ECE programs. Also important are standards outlining pedagogical practices, implementation of curriculum goals and the set-up of the learning environment. The benchmark proposes these minimum program standards for all ECE settings including kindergarten.

Benchmark 19: Population measures for preschool learning collected and reported

Public reporting informs communities about how their children are doing and what can be done to improve children’s early learning environments. The minimum benchmark is that a province has used the Early Development Instrument or an equivalent tool and reported on the findings at least once in the past three years.

*Multilateral Framework Agreement on Early Learning and Child Care (March 2003). Retrieved from

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