Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel on Early Learning and Child Care

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The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, has been mandated by the Prime Minister of Canada to increase the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity of early learning and child care, with consideration for families that need child care the most. This includes lower income families, Indigenous families, lone-parent families, families in underserved communities, those working non-standard hours, and/or children with varying abilities.

To support the development and implementation of the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Framework and the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework (IELCC), the Expert Panel on ELCC (hereafter the Panel or Expert Panel) will complement other engagement activities in support of the development of the data and research strategy.

Scope of work

The Expert Panel will be a forum to facilitate in-depth discussion on issues related to early learning and child care information, data and research and will support the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development by:

  • Providing advice in developing an ELCC data and research strategy that may include short, medium and long-term goals, including:
    • Developing a list of ELCC key indicators and outcomes that could be reported on federally;
    • Outlining a way forward in addressing data and research gaps in relation to the ELCC indicators; and,
    • Setting an overall ELCC data and research strategy.
  • Providing advice towards priority areas of action in implementing the ELCC data and research strategy;
  • Being a sounding board to test and discuss ideas on early learning and child care information, data and research generated via the public engagement process;
  • Identifying innovative approaches to encourage high-quality early learning and child care; and,
  • Offering advice on how to align the objectives of the work on Early Learning and Child Care with other Government priorities.


Under the purview of the Minister, the Panel will operate for a period of 18 months after being confirmed, at which point the Minister could extend participation of some or all panel members or appoint new members.


The Expert Panel will include practitioners and experts in the area of early learning and child care from a diverse range of fields, including: academia, leaders and social actors (ensuring representation from Indigenous and ethnically diverse groups), international experts, service providers and persons with experience in using early learning and child care services, including parents.

The Minister will strive to achieve an Expert Panel that will be representative of Canada's diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, Indigenous identities, regions and official languages, as well as early learning and child care needs.

Panel members may create small working groups to address specific issues within their scope of work; these working groups may comprise some or all Panel members in addition to any other participants needed to achieve the objective of the working group.

Meeting participation

Panel members must be available to commit their time over a period of 18 months. Panel meetings will likely happen on a bi-monthly basis; with the possibility of more or less frequent meetings should it be necessary.

Members may attend Panel meetings either in person, by teleconference, or online videoconference, with some meetings in person.

Members will report to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Compensation, travel and accommodation

Panel members will not receive per diem for conducting the Panel work. However, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will reimburse Panel members for applicable accommodation and travel costs when attending meetings outside of their home community in accordance with section 9 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act and applicable Treasury Board Directives such as the National Joint Council Travel Directive.

In addition to reimbursement for incurred accommodation and travel costs, some participants facing financial barriers to participation in the activities of the Panel may receive a modest financial compensation for their participation.

Other participants that may participate into activities of the Panel would not be eligible for reimbursement.

Intellectual property

All intellectual property rights in any document or written advice produced by the Expert Panel, or any member(s) shall immediately, as soon as they come into existence, vest in and remain the property of the Queen, Her Majesty in Right of Canada.


The Panel will be supported by a Secretariat housed within Employment and Social Development Canada, which will provide organizational and logistical support.

Financial and human resources for the Secretariat will be provided through existing Employment and Social Development Canada resources.

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