Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2013

The Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care 2013 Report provides demographic information on key populations which are pertinent to Early Childhood Education and Care. An overview of federal programs and spending, provincial and territorial information on licensed child care, kindergarten and other Early Childhood Education and Care programs is also provided.

Introduction and acknowledgements

In the broadest sense, Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) encompasses a wide array of arrangements for young children. In this context, it refers primarily to licensed and approved ECEC programs up to kindergarten, as well as supports to parents.

In Canada, provincial and territorial governments have primary responsibility for the provision of social and education services for children and families, including the design and delivery of ECEC policies and programs. Each province and territory (P/T) has a program of licensed and approved ECEC which establishes legislated requirements, standards and funding arrangements for centre-based ECEC, licensed and approved family child care, school-aged child care and, usually, nursery or preschools. Provincial and territorial governments are also responsible for kindergarten programs.

The Government of Canada’s approach respects provincial and territorial responsibility for social services while at the same time supporting parents to choose what is right for their children. Programs under the aegis of the federal government include fiscal transfers to P/Ts to be spent at their discretion on programs and services; transfers to individuals to support their choices; tax expenditures; and programs for populations for which the federal government has particular responsibilities, including contributions to ECEC in Aboriginal communities.

In recognition of the value of publicly available program information and data on ECEC, this report was developed by Employment and Social Development Canada (formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments. Participating jurisdictionsFootnote 1 provided program information and data for inclusion in the report through the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Sub-committee on Data and Information, which provides support and coordination to the Provincial/Territorial Directors of Early Childhood Education and Care in matters relating to early learning and child care research, knowledge exchange and data collection and analysis.

The report begins with demographic information on key populations which are pertinent to ECEC, followed by an overview of federal programs and spending. Individual chapters on each participating province and territory follow a common format and provide information on licensed or approved ECEC, kindergarten and other ECEC programs. Finally, a series of tables presents comparable data on a number of key elements across provinces and territories. Unless otherwise indicated, administrative data is for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Note on sources/disclaimers

The data and information in this report was provided by participating jurisdictions. In the case of provincial and territorial ministries, it was extracted from data systems developed to meet their administrative needs. There are variations among jurisdictions in the types of data collected, the manner in which the data is reported and in the definitions and terminology used. While every effort has been made to present data and information in a comparable form (and/or to clarify discrepancies), caution should be exercised in using the data for cross-jurisdictional comparative purposes.

The purpose of this publication is to bring together key data and information on ECEC in Canada in a user-friendly, accessible, centralized format. Most of the information in it is also publicly available on individual government websites and/or is provided in the form of links to existing sites. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and currency, users should refer directly to the appropriate source for definitive information.

From 1992 to 2008, the federal government provided funding for a series of reports entitled ECEC in Canada which were produced by the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, with data and information provided by federal, provincial and territorial governments. In 2012, the federal government produced Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2010, which followed a similar format. In consultation with the Provincial/Territorial Directors of ECEC (through the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Sub-committee on Data and Information), the parameters of Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2012 and Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2013 have been revised and are not necessarily comparable with those earlier reports. Where data or information is not provided in the form of a link, sources and methodology are identified.

Demographic information

This section provides contextual information about key populations which are pertinent to ECEC, based on national survey data.

Births, estimates, by province and territory

Data on the estimated number of births in Canada (including breakdown by individual provinces and territories) is available at Statistics Canada.

Total fertility rate, by province and territory

The total fertility rate in Canada (including breakdown by individual provinces and territories) is available at Statistics Canada.

Number of children by individual year of age, by province and territory, 2011 Census

According to the 2011 Census, Statistics Canada provides the number of individuals in Canada by year of age (0, 1, 2, etc.) as well as age groupings (e.g. 0-4, 5-9, 10-14) and a breakdown for each individual province and territory.

Number of children identifying with an Aboriginal group, 2011 National Household Survey

The following link takes the user to a Statistics Canada webpage which provides the most recent information on Aboriginal Peoples collected in 2011 by the National Household Survey (NHS). This data table presents NHS data on Aboriginal identity by age group, for Canada and the provinces/territories.

Information for smaller geographic areas is also available at the NHS Aboriginal Population Profile page. On this page, searches for an area of interest can be done by typing its name in the search engine or by clicking on a province or territory from the list under Option 2 and selecting the area from a list.

Number of children with disabilities, Participation and Activities Limitation Survey 2006

The following link takes the user to tables from the Participation and Activities Limitation Survey of 2006, including disability rates for children by age and sex groups, for all of Canada and individual provinces and territories.

Number of children by mother tongue (2011 Census)

The following link takes the user to a Statistics Canada webpage which provides the number of individuals in Canada, and in each province and territory, by mother tongue (English, French, non-official mother tongue or combinations thereof). By using the “Age” drop-down menu, users can generate tables specifying certain age groups, including 0-14, 0-4, 5-9 and 10-14. The data may also be expressed as percentages by selecting under the “View” drop-down menu.

Number and percentage of children living in low income (various measures)

The following link takes the user to CANSIM table 202-0802 on the Statistics Canada website, which provides data on persons in low income in Canada according to four measures (low-income cut-off after tax, low-income cut-off before tax, market basket measure and low income measure after tax). By selecting “Add/Remove Data,” the user can create customized tables for individual provinces (territorial data is not available). For data on children, select “persons under 18” as a parameter.

Labour force participation rate (annual average, 2013) of women whose youngest child is:
0-12 years 0-2 years 3-5 years 6-12 years
NL 78.4 70.6 75.5 85.3
PE 87.0 86.5 81.5 86.5
NS 80.1 75.0 81.3 83.6
NB 79.5 71.6 80.3 84.9
QC 82.4 78.9 82.2 85.7
ON 77.3 70.8 76.6 82.8
MB 74.8 65.6 70.6 85.6
SK 75.2 66.9 76.7 82.9
AB 71.5 59.9 72.9 81.3
BC 75.9 70.2 74.1 81.7
YK 78.6 58.3 83.3 90.9
NT 81.0 73.3 83.3 86.7
NU 70.7 66.7 70.0 75.0
CA 77.6 71.1 77.2 83.4

Source: Special run requested from Statistics Canada from the Labour Force Survey.

Federal Government

This section summarizes federal activities in support of ECEC. In each case, links are provided to program and spending information. Further information is available from the lead federal department.

Transfers to individuals

Universal Child Care Benefit (Employment and Social Development Canada, formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada)

A description is available on the Departmental website.

Annual expenditure information is available in the annual Public Accounts of Canada.

Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits (Employment and Social Development Canada, formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada)

A description is available on the Service Canada website.

Data on number of claimants, average amount and duration of claim and expenditures for each participating province and territory (Quebec introduced its own parental insurance plan in 2006) is available through the annual Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report (see annex on income benefit data).

Tax expenditures

The Department of Finance is the lead federal department for tax expenditures. There are three tax expenditures which are pertinent to Early Childhood Education and Care:

  • the Child Tax Credit;
  • the Child Care Expenses Deduction; and
  • the Investment Tax Credit for Child Care Spaces.

The 2010 edition of Finance Canada’s annual publication, “Tax Expenditures and Evaluations,” provides a description of each credit.

Projected or estimated annual expenditures for each credit are available in the most recent edition of Tax Expenditures and Evaluations.

Transfers to provinces and territories

The Canada Social Transfer is a federal block transfer to provinces and territories in support of social programming, including early childhood development and child care. A description and notional allocation amounts are available from Finance Canada.

Contributions to Aboriginal ECEC

First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative (Employment and Social Development Canada, formerly Human Resources and Skills Development Canada)

A description, including estimated annual expenditures and number of spaces and sites, is available on the Departmental website.

First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada)

A description, including estimated annual expenditures and number of students and sites (kindergarten to Grade 12), is available on the Departmental website.

Aboriginal Head Start On-Reserve (Health Canada)

A description, including estimated annual expenditures and number of children and sites, is available on the Departmental website.

Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities (Public Health Agency of Canada)

A description is available on the Departmental website.

Other federal ECEC programs

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) – child-minding component (Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

A description is available on the Departmental website.

Military Family Resource Centres (Department of National Defence)

A description is available on the Departmental website.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Note: On September 30, 2014, the mandate for licensed Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) moved to the newly named Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Licensed ECEC and kindergarten are now in the same Department. Information in this report reflects the status as of March 2013.

Overview

In Newfoundland and Labrador, licensed ECEC falls under the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services and consists of child care centres, school-age child care centres and family child care. Family child care is delivered through both individually licensed and agency-based models. Kindergarten is a half-day program under the Department of Education, which also offers the KinderStart program in the year prior to kindergarten entry.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. More information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, maternity leave is termed “pregnancy leave.”

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Child care centres: centre-based care for more than six children under 13 years between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.; may be full- or part-day

School-age child care centres: centre-based care outside school hours for school-age children under 13 years between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Family child care: care in the home of the provider between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. for up to six children (eight under special circumstances) including the provider’s own children not attending school on a full-time basis

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry n/a
Number of spaces for school-age children n/a
Total number of centre-based spaces 6,999
Family child care
Number of spaces 732
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 7,731

Note: Data is as of March 31, 2013, and includes on-reserve child care spaces.

Aboriginal ECEC

Licensed centres receive the same provincial funding as other centres, and parents are eligible for subsidy. The number of on-reserve spaces is not tracked separately, but is included in the total count of child care spaces for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 2

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. Information for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is available. One regulated centre, Daybreak Parent/Child Centre, works exclusively with approximately 59 at-risk children and their families.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed family child care for up to four children under age 13

Group programs for no more than six children for no more than nine hours/week, or an unspecified number of children for not more than six hours/day for fewer than eight weeks in a 12-week period

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 3

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment in NL
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction 2.5 hours/day (475 hours/year)
Delivery format Usually part-day, daily
Class size Provincial limit of 20
Enrolment (2012-13) 4,911
Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. Information on supports for children with special needs in the education system in Newfoundland and Labrador is available from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

KinderStart is a school transition program offered in the year prior to kindergarten entry to support children’s adjustment to the school environment and provide parents/caregivers with information on how to support their child’s learning at home.

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Licensed ECEC
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services

Kindergarten
Department of Education

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Licensed ECEC
Child Care Services Act

Kindergarten
Schools Act

Information on regulations, policies and standards for centre-based ECEC is available on the Newfoundland and Labrador website. For family child care, information is available on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website.

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. The Association of Early Childhood Educators Newfoundland and Labrador (AECENL) is the professional association responsible for the certification of individuals to work in regulated child care in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada.

Staff ratios and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
0-24 months 1:3 6
25-36 months 1:5 10
37-69 months 1:8 16
57-84 months 1:12 24
69-155 months 1:15 30
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's
own children?
Licensed 6 Yes
Unlicensed 4 Yes

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria.

In 2012-13, 2,360 children received subsidies (cumulative total of children receiving subsidies in the 12-month period; data is collected monthly).

Public spending on ECEC

In 2012-13, $27,975,007 was allocated for regulated child care, which includes (but is not limited to) subsidy and inclusion programs, capacity and family child care initiatives, and equipment grants.

Information on kindergarten spending is not available.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) staff in child care centres, family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

Prince Edward Island

Overview

In Prince Edward Island, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is responsible for both licensed ECEC (Early Childhood Development Division) and kindergarten (English and French Programs Division). Licensed ECEC includes Early Education Centres for children prior to school entry (publicly managed centres form part of the Preschool Excellence Initiative), as well as private/non-publicly managed centres, school-age centres for older children and family child care which is available in individually licensed private homes. Since September 2010, kindergarten has been a mandatory full-day program in the year preceding Grade 1.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit, and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Early Education Centres: group care for less than 24 hours/day for children from birth to five years, including part-day nursery schools for children aged 2-5 years; publicly managed centres are referred to as Early Years Centres and form part of the Preschool Excellence Initiative announced in May 2010

School-age child care centres: care outside of school hours for school-age children (usually 5-12 years)

Family child care: full-day care in a private home for mixed-age groups up to a maximum of seven children, including the provider’s own preschool-aged children

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 3,091
Number of spaces for school-age children 1,105
Total number of centre-based spaces 4,196
Family child care
Number of spaces 28
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 4,224

Note: Data is as of March 2013 and includes on-reserve child care spaces.

Aboriginal ECEC

On-reserve child care centres may be licensed by the province, but licensing is not required. In 2012-13, there were 24 licensed on-reserve child care spaces, which are included in the total count of spaces for Prince Edward Island.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 4

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. Information is available at the Special Needs Grant for Licensed Early Childhood Centres.

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 5

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Mandatory
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction 5 hours/day
Delivery format Full-day, daily
Class size Based on 18 children
Enrolment (2012-13) 1,539 (Sept 2013)

Kindergarten has been part of the public school system in Prince Edward Island since September 2010 and is a mandatory grade level for all eligible children as a full school-day program. Kindergarten teachers who wished to transition into the public school system have been offered supports to qualify as certified teachers. They completed the requirements for their B.Ed (Kindergarten) and graduated in May 2014.

Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. Information on supports for children with special needs in the education system is available at Special Education Needs. Transition plans are developed for children with special needs who have been in child care settings to support their entry into kindergarten.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities

Family Resource Centres

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC, and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

The Learning and Early Childhood Development Branch of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is responsible for both licensed ECEC (Early Childhood Development Division) and kindergarten (English and French Programs Division).

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Licensed ECEC
Child Care Facilities Act

Kindergarten
School Act (since September 2010)

Information on licensing requirements is also available at the Child Care/Early Childhood Program Licensing webpage.

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. For child care staff certification and credentialing in PEI, please refer to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website. The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada.

Staff ratios and group sizes

Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
0-2 years 1:3 6
2-3 years 1:5 n/a
3-5 years 1:10 n/a
5-7 years 1:12 n/a
7 years and older 1:15 n/a
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider’s
own children?
Licensed 7 Yes
Unlicensed 5 Yes

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. In 2012-13, 1,738 children received subsidies (cumulative total for the year).

Public spending on ECEC

In the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Annual Report for 2012-13, expenditures for early childhood development were $12,222,400.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) kindergarten teachers, staff in child care centres and family child care providers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Early Years Centres As per wage grid.
Uncertified staff $10.00
ECE Level 2 (2 yr diploma) $15-$16.88
ECE Level 1 (1 yr certificate) $13.50-$15.17
ECE Entry Level (90 hrs) $12-$13.50
Directors $21-$23.64
Private Centres
Special needs staff $11.50

Nova Scotia

Overview

In Nova Scotia, licensed ECEC and kindergarten are the responsibility of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development*. Licensed ECEC is offered through child care centres (which include full- and part-day programs prior to school entry, and school-age programs) and family child care (known as family home day care), which is delivered through an agency-based model. Kindergarten is termed Grade Primary and is a full-day optional program.

*In 2013 the Department of Education expanded its mandate to include Early Childhood Development Services. As a result, the Early Years Branch was created and the Department was renamed the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. To support this change, Early Childhood Development Services moved from the Department of Community Services to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information is available on the provision for maternity and parental leave webpage.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Maternity leave is termed “pregnancy leave” in Nova Scotia.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Child care centres: care in a group setting for less than 24 hours/day for seven or more children ranging in age from 0-12 years, including full-day and part-day child care centres, and programs for school-age children

Family home day care: child care provided in a family home day care provider’s private home that is approved, managed and monitored by a licensed Family Home Day Care Agency; providers can care for up to six children including the provider’s own children (or eight if all children are school-aged)

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 13,142
Number of spaces for school-age children 3,577
Total number of centre-based spaces 16,719
Family child care
Number of spaces 882
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 17,601

Note: Data is as of March 2013 and does not include on-reserve spaces.

Aboriginal ECEC

Nova Scotia does not license on-reserve child care. There are 249 on-reserve child care spaces in Nova Scotia, which are not included in the total number of child care spaces. The Child Care Facilities and Licensing Agreement Sub-committee of the Nova Scotia Tripartite Social Working Committee has a mandate to explore options and make recommendations for the development of a formal structure with regard to regulation or licensing of on-reserve child care. This group has undertaken research regarding the range of models in place across Canada, and a comparative analysis of on- and off-reserve programs in Nova Scotia. It is currently exploring options related to self-governance in daycare licensing.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 6

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC.

The Supported Child Care Program (SCC) in Nova Scotia assists in the creation or enhancement of existing inclusive child care programs for young children. These programs encourage participation and enhance the experiences of children with diverse abilities in child care programs by enhancing/facilitating interaction with their peer group while receiving supports that will encourage successful early learning experiences.

More information is available on the Government of Nova Scotia website.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed family child care

Unlicensed family child care providers can care for up to six children of any age, or eight school-aged children without a license. Unlicensed child care arrangements are made privately between the parents and the provider.

After-school programs are operated by school boards, or by community agencies such as the YMCA.

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 7

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories. In Nova Scotia, the year before Grade 1 is termed Grade Primary.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction Minimum 4 hours/day
Delivery format Full-day, daily
Class size Limit of 25 (plus 2 for flexibility)
Enrolment (2012-13) 8,644 (2012)
Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. Transition planning for children with identified additional needs is a comprehensive process detailed in Transition Planning for Students with Special Needs: The Early Years through to Adult Life.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

Several school boards operate early learning programs for children prior to Grade Primary. Funding for these programs is secured outside of the provincial education funding formula.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities

  • Family resource centres
  • Early Intervention programs, which deliver family-centred services for children with special needs, from birth to school entry
  • Early Years Centres, which provide support for young children and their families in the early years (prenatal through school entry), facilitating seamless access to programs and other supports through service integration

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC, and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Licensed ECEC
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Early Years Branch

Kindergarten
Department of education and early childhood development, public schools Branch

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Licensed ECEC
Day Care Act and Regulations

Kindergarten
Education Act and Regulations

Information on requirements for licensing is available on the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development* website under Family Day Home and Child Care Facility.

*In 2013 the Department of Education expanded its mandate to include Early Childhood Development services. As a result, the Early Years Branch was created and the Department was renamed the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. To support this change, Early Childhood Development Services moved from the Department of Community Services to the Department of Education.

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section and refer to Classification for child care staff for more information on child care staff certification and credentialing in Nova Scotia.

The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada.

Staff ratios and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
0-17 months 1:4 10
18-36 months 1:6 18
36 months-5 years 1:8 24
5-12 years 1:15 30

Note: Ratios and group sizes apply to full-time care. For part-time programs, the staff: child ratio is 1:12 for children aged 30 months to 5 years, with a maximum group size of 24.

Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's
own children?
Regulated 6 (mixed age) Yes
Unregulated 6 (mixed age) Yes

Note: In Nova Scotia, family home daycare agencies are licensed under the Day Care Act and Regulations. Family home daycare agencies approve, manage and monitor family daycare homes. Family day care homes, and the child care spaces within them, are referred to as "regulated" as opposed to "licensed." For regulated homes, if all children are infants, the maximum number of children is three; if all are school-age, the maximum is eight.

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. In 2012-13, the average number of families receiving subsidies was 3,475 (the average number of children was 4,315).

Public spending on ECEC

Direct expenditures on licensed ECEC through the Department of Community Services in 2012-13 were $47,618,300. This amount includes capital expenditures, wage incentives, special needs, subsidies, training supports, training initiatives and programs to promote recruitment and retention of trained early childhood educators. An additional $13,458,897 was expended on a variety of programs outside of the licensed ECEC environment that support children and families, including Early Intervention, Family Resource Programs and Healthy Beginnings. Total expenditures for all public ECEC spending by the Department of Community Services was $61,077,197.

Information on kindergarten spending is not available.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) staff in child care centres, family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Level of Training* Average hourly wage Comments/details
Level 3 (Degree) $16.65

Wage information is collected based on credential.

Child care facilities in receipt of the Early Childhood Education Grant are required to submit an “Annual Report.” Facilities are required to allocate a minimum of 80% of the funding received to increase wages and/or provide statutory and extended benefits. Reporting requirements for this grant provide ECDS with wage information.

Level 2 (Diploma) $18.18
Level 1 (Equivalent) $14.65
Entry Level $12.35

*Detailed information regarding Child Care Classification in Nova Scotia including classification requirements.

New Brunswick

Overview

In New Brunswick, licensed ECEC and kindergarten are both under the auspices of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Licensed ECEC falls under the Early Childhood Services branch, and includes day care centres, nursery schools/preschools, school-age child care centres and family child care. Family child care homes are known as community day care homes and are individually licensed. New Brunswick is officially bilingual, and the public school system is organized in Anglophone and Francophone sectors. Kindergarten is a mandatory full-day program for five-year-olds in both sectors.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

In New Brunswick, parental leave is termed “child care leave.”

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC
  • Day care centres: part- or full-time care for less than 24 hours/day for four or more infants, six or more preschoolers, ten or more children aged 6-12 years, or seven or more children from birth to 12 years.
  • Nursery schools/preschools: part-day programs for preschool-age children.
  • School-age child care centres: centre-based care outside school hours for school-age children up to and including 12 years.
  • Community day care homes: care in a private home for no more than six children of a combination of ages from birth to 12 years, including the caregiver’s own children under 12 years.
Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 10,960
Number of spaces for school-age children 10,835
Total number of centre-based spaces 21,795
Family child care
Number of spaces 854
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 22,649

Note: Data is as of March 31, 2013, and includes on-reserve child care spaces.

Aboriginal ECEC

Licensing (approval) of on-reserve child care facilities is not required, but may occur upon request from a First Nations community. In 2012-13, there were 268 on-reserve child care spaces which are included in the overall count of spaces for New Brunswick. On-reserve facilities are not eligible for provincial funding. There is one off-reserve Aboriginal child care program that is approved and receives provincial funding.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 8

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC.

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 9

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

In New Brunswick, the public education system is made up of Anglophone and Francophone sectors. Many characteristics of kindergarten are common to the two sectors. Independents schools may offer kindergarten. Parents who wish to send their child to an independent school or to homeschool for kindergarten must write to the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development requesting an exemption.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Mandatory
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction Min 4/max 4.5 hours per day
Delivery format Full-day, daily
Class size Maximum 22 (average 17)
Enrolment (2012-13) 7,352

The break-down of enrolment between the Anglophone and Francophone sectors was 5,111 and 2,241 respectively.

A child who turns five after September 1 may, at the parents’ discretion, enter school that year or the following year. If entry is delayed, the child must enter the public education system the following year through the kindergarten program.

Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

In the past, many school boards/districts had initiated preschool programs to respond to the Early Years Evaluation – Direct Assessment results. These programs are now coordinated through the Family and Early Childhood (FEC) Agencies that are under contract with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and are aligned with the province’s seven school districts. Follow-up activities may be up to six weeks in length and occur once a week.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities

Family Resource Centres, which currently focus on three key issues: mental health, injury prevention and healthy weights.

Early Childhood Development Centres, which were part of a three-year demonstration project to test the concept of integrated services for young children, their parents and caregivers by creating neighbourhood hubs which bring community resources together in a central location.

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has been exploring the development and implementation of a proposed certification model in partnership with the provincial association Early Childhood Care and Education NB/Soins et education a la petite enfance NB. The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada.

Staff ratios and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
0-2 years 1:3 9
2 years 1:5 10
3 years 1:7 14
4 years 1:10 20
5 years 1:12 24
6 years 1:15 30
7-12 years 1:15 30
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's
own children?
Licensed 6 Yes
Unlicensed 5 Yes

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. As of March 31, 2013, 6,095 children had benefitted from subsidies under the Day Care Assistance Program, with an additional 191 receiving Alternative Child Care (under which unlicensed family child care providers may be approved as an alternative provider in circumstances where licensed child care is not available or for unique needs such as extended hour services).

Public spending on ECEC

According to New Brunswick’s Public Accounts for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013 (Volume 2 - Supplementary Information), in 2012-13 approximately $65.8M was allocated across all early childhood programs and services. In addition to Early Learning and Child Care, this amount includes the PreSchool Autism Program; PreNatal Benefit Program; Early Intervention; Early Language Program; and Communities Raising Children.

Information on kindergarten spending is not available.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) staff in child care centres, family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Trained Staff $15.87

Data from staff that reported hours on Quarterly Hours Report (QIFS) during the period of January, February and March 2013.

Untrained Staff $13.45

Ontario

Overview

In Ontario, licensed ECEC and kindergarten are both under the responsibility of the Early Learning Division of the Ministry of Education. Licensed ECEC is provided in child care centres (many of which are located in schools) and in private home day cares (offered through agencies that contract with individual caregivers who offer child care in their homes).

Historically, kindergarten has been offered to all four and five-year-olds (referred to as junior and senior kindergarten respectively) in both English and French language school boards. In English language boards, kindergarten has been available on a part-time basis (e.g. half-day every day; full-day every other day). In French language school boards, full-day kindergarten has been available for the past decade.

Beginning in September 2010, the Government of Ontario began the implementation of full-day kindergarten for four- and five-year-olds, with universal availability by September 2014. This play-based learning program has two components: a core day offered during the regular school day and delivered by a certified teacher and registered early childhood educator, and an optional before- and after-school program delivered by a registered early childhood educator and supported by parent fees.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available from the Ministry of Labour of Ontario.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

In Ontario, maternity leave is termed “pregnancy leave.”

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Licensed child care centres are licensed to provide care to more than five unrelated children under the age of 10 years (18 years for children with special needs).

Licensed private home day care is offered through agencies that contract individual caregivers to offer child care for five or fewer children (including their own children under six years of age) out of the individuals’ own homes.

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 185,739
Number of spaces for school-age children 108,795
Total number of centre-based spaces 294,534
Family child care
Number of spaces 16,807
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 311,341

Note: Data is as of March 31, 2013, and includes on-reserve child care spaces.

Aboriginal ECEC

Ontario licenses on-reserve child care. As of March 31, 2013, there were 3,211 on-reserve child care spaces in Ontario, which are included in the overall count of spaces for Ontario.

Ontario cost-shares fee subsidies for licensed on-reserve child care programs on an 80/20 basis with First Nations. The province pays 100% of other child care financing (wage subsidies, special needs resourcing, Transformation, Health and Safety, Supervisor Network Capacity Building and family resource centres). First Nations manage the fee subsidy system in their communities. The federal government reimburses Ontario for a portion of the listed expenditures (chiefly fee subsidies).

Children with special needsFootnote 10

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. For the province of Ontario, information is available on the Child care subsidies webpage.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed family child care (also referred to as informal or unregulated home child care in Ontario)

  • Parents may choose informal child care arrangements for their children.
  • In Ontario, regardless of the number of adults providing care at the location, caregivers may look after five or fewer children under 10 years of age without a day nursery licence.
  • Informal care arrangements are made between the parents and the caregiver. The Ontario government does not regulate these caregivers.
  • The province inspects unlicensed child care settings when a complaint is received that a person may be caring for more children than is currently permitted by the Day Nurseries Act (DNA).
  • To better address public concerns with unlicensed child care, the government is establishing a dedicated enforcement unit to respond and follow up on complaints against unlicensed providers.

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 11

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 4 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction Full day is 300 instructional minutes
Delivery format Full-day, daily universal by Sept 2014
Class size Average of 26 (2 educators: teacher and registered early childhood educator)
Enrolment (2012-13) Senior K (5 year old): 133,151; Junior K (4 year old): 126,344

Since 2010, Ontario has been moving to a full-day program for both years, with full implementation by September 2014. In the 2012-13 school year, approximately 122,000 four- and five-year-olds attended full-day kindergarten. In 2013-14 approximately 184,000 kindergarten students will be enrolled in full-day kindergarten. Most four- and five-year-olds attend JK and SK, respectively. Full-day kindergarten classrooms are jointly staffed by a teacher and a registered early childhood educator (ECE), and follow a developmentally appropriate play-based approach. School-based before- and after-school care is also available on a fee-paying basis where demand is sufficient.

Francophone school boards generally offered full-day kindergarten to four- and five-year-olds prior to 2010, with variations in models of delivery. Beginning in 2010, French language school boards also began to offer the play-based learning program, staffed by the teacher-ECE team.

Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special education needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special education needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. For the province of Ontario, information about programs and/or services to support children with special needs in the Ontario education system is available from the Ministry of Education.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

Kindergarten is available for four- and five-year-olds, and before- and after-school care is offered in conjunction with full-day kindergarten.

172 schools in 19 school boards offer Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, in which children aged 0-6 participate with their parents in play-based activities to help prepare children for starting school.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities

Community-based family support programs are available for children and families in Ontario and are a key part of the Ontario Early Years Policy Framework.

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. In Ontario, the College of Early Childhood Educators sets registration requirements and standards of ethics and practice for early childhood educators. The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada.

Staff ratios and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
0-18 months 3:10 (1:3.3) 10
18-30 months 1:5 15
30 months-5 years 1:8 16
44-67 months 1:10 20
56-67 months 1:12 24
6-12 years 1:15 30
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's
own children?
Licensed 5 Y (under 6 years)
Unlicensed 5 No

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. As of December 31, 2012, 137,645Footnote 12 children received subsidies for licensed child care. Ontario Works child care funds may be used to cover the cost of licensed child care as a transition measure where participants are in employment assistance activities or entering the paid labour market; funds may be used for licensed child care and unlicensed child care arrangements or alternatives (e.g. summer day camp programs).

Public spending on ECEC

Licensed ECEC: According to the Public Accounts of Ontario 2012-13, $959.2M was expended in transfer payments for child care (operating expenditures) and $8.6M in transfer payments for capital expenditures. See section Ministry of Education Child Care Program – Vote 1004 Details of Expenses and Assets by Items and Accounts Classification For the year ended March 31, 2013 of the Public Accounts of Ontario 2012-13.

Kindergarten: In addition to funding received through the Grants for Student Needs, the Government of Ontario invested $200 million to support full-day kindergarten in its first year of implementation (2010-11), $300 million in Year 2 (2011-12) and $643 million in Year 3 (2012-13). The government has allocated approximately $1.5B in capital funding to support the implementation of full-day kindergarten.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) registered early childhood educators, certified kindergarten teachers and other adult staff members in child care centres and private home day care.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Data is not collected in this way. For information, please visit the Licensed Child Care Questionnaire 2012 Results.

Manitoba

Overview

In Manitoba, responsibility for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) resides in two ministries: Manitoba Family Services (licenses ECEC providers) and Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning (oversees kindergarten and other school-delivered programs). Licensed ECEC includes child care centres, nursery schools, school-age centres, family child care homes (including group child care homes which may care for more children provided a second caregiver is present), and centres which offer occasional care. Family child care homes are individually licensed. Kindergarten is optional and its parameters vary by school board; most programs are part-time. Some school divisions also offer programs for four year olds.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Parental leave falls under provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available at:

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Child care centres: full-day centre-based services provided for more than four continuous hours per day and three or more days per week to more than three infants, or to more than four preschool-age children of whom not more than three are infants, or to more than four children who are enrolled in kindergarten to Grade 6 in a school.

Nursery schools: part-time centre-based programs for more than three infants, or more than four preschool-age children of whom no more than three are infants, for a maximum of four continuous hours per day, or for more than four continuous hours per day and less than three days per week.

School age child care centres: services outside school hours for more than four children who are enrolled in kindergarten to Grade 6 in a school.

Family child care homes: care in a private home for a maximum of eight children, including the provider’s own children under age 12 (other restrictions apply regarding age groupings).

Group child care homes: care in a private home by two or more caregivers for a maximum of 12 children, including the providers’ own children under age 12 (other restrictions apply regarding age groupings).

Occasional child care centres: care on a casual basis for more than four children, of whom not more than three are infants.

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for children ages 0-school entry 19,199
Number of spaces for school-age children 9,381
Total number of centre-based spaces 28,580
Family child care
Number of spaces 3,054
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 31,634

Note: Data is as of March 31, 2013, and does not include on-reserve spaces.

Aboriginal ECEC

In Manitoba, child care programs on reserve are not currently required to be licensed, but Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care assists facilities on reserve if they choose to become licensed. On-reserve child care spaces are not included in the total count of spaces.

Post-secondary colleges in Manitoba routinely contract with First Nations communities to offer an Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma customized to meet the needs of each community. A post-diploma certificate program in Aboriginal child care is offered through Red River College which, in combination with an ECE diploma, leads to classification as an ECE III.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 13

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. Information is available on the Child Care Inclusion Support Program webpage.

Unlicensed ECEC

Private home child care: care provided in a private home to not more than four children under 12 years of age, including the provider’s own children, of whom not more than two are less than two years of age.

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 14

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction 460 hours in 2012-13
Delivery format Varies by school board
Class size Limit of 20 for K-3 by Sept 2017
Enrolment (2012-13) 13,919 (as of Sept 30, 2012)

Enrolment includes both public schools and funded independent schools (92% of kindergarten students attend public schools).

Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. Information on supports for children with special needs in the Manitoba education system is available on the Student Services webpage. An interdepartmental support protocol for use by school divisions and preschool agencies, Guidelines for Early Childhood Transition to School for Children with Special Needs (September 2002, currently under revision), outlines the planning process for students with special needs entering the school system.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

School divisions are implementing programming focussed on early childhood development for children from birth to age five through the Early Childhood Development Initiative of Manitoba Education.

Some individual school boards offer part-day nursery school for-four-year olds.

Infant and child development centres are available in some school divisions.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities in Manitoba include:
  • Family resource programs
  • Healthy Child Manitoba (a long-term cross-departmental prevention strategy for putting children and families first)

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

Teacher certification is required to teach kindergarten in Manitoba. Information on teacher certification requirements in Manitoba is available on the Professional Certification webpage.

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. For Manitoba's child care staff certification and credentialing classification process for internationally educated applicants, please refer to the

Manitoba Family Services website. The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada.

Staff ratios and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
12 weeks-2 years 1:4 8
2-6 years 1:8 16
6-12 years 1:15 30

Note: Ratios and group sizes are for mixed age groups. Different parameters apply for separate age groups.

Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's own children?
Licensed 8 Yes
Unlicensed 4 Yes

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. Information is available on the Manitoba Family Services website. In 2012-13, on average an estimated 8,741 Manitoba children received subsidized child care in each four-week period.

Public spending on ECEC

Actual expenditures by Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care for financial assistance and grants in 2012-13 were $134,699,000, including operating and capital funds, wage incentives, special needs subsidies, and training supports (see Manitoba Family Services and Labour Annual Report 2012-13, 09-3 D Early Learning and Child Care).

Average spending per kindergarten student

In 2012-13, the estimated cost was $5,515 per kindergarten student. This figure is half the $11,030 average operating expenditure per pupil by school divisions in 2012-13.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) staff in child care centres, family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage 2012-13 Comments/details
Early Childhood Educator II $18.08 Data based on salary analysis of ECEIIs in funded full-time centres. Includes all positions with an ECE II classification (Directors, Supervisors and front-line staff).

Saskatchewan

Overview

In Saskatchewan, licensed ECEC and kindergarten are both under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. Licensed ECEC consists of child care centres which includes some school-age child care, family child care homes (including group homes which may care for more children provided a second caregiver is present) and teen student support centres and homes. Family child care is individually licensed. Kindergarten is offered to all five-year-olds, generally on a part-day basis, and pre-kindergarten is offered on a targeted basis to three- and four-year-olds.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available at the Pregnancy, Parenting & the Workplace…What Employees and Employers Need to Know web page.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Child care centres: care in group settings for children from six weeks to 12 years of age.

Family child care homes: care provided in a residential premise by an individually licensed provider.

Group family child care homes: care provided in a residential premise; licensed for more children than a regular family child care home, but must have a second adult caregiver present if the maximum for a regular family child care home is exceeded.

Teen student support centres: located in or near a high school, and provide care for children of parents attending the school.

Teen student support family child care homes: family child care homes which are formally associated with a high school, and provide care for children of parents attending the school.

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 9,377
Number of spaces for school-age children 1,375
Total number of centre-based spaces 10,752
Family child care
Number of spaces 2,020
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 12,772

Note: Data is as of March 31, 2013, and does not include on-reserve child care spaces.

Aboriginal ECEC

Saskatchewan does not license or fund on-reserve child care. In 2012-13, there were 1,119 on-reserve child care spaces which are not included in the total count of spaces for Saskatchewan.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 15

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. Information for Saskatchewan is available on the Inclusion Program and Application Information webpage.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed family child care, known as “exempt from mandatory licensing”

Part-time preschools (operating less than three hours/day)

School-age child care in schools (i.e. located in schools and solely for school-age children)

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 16

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility Varies by board; usually 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction Minimum 80 full-day equivalents
Delivery format Usually part-day, daily
Class size n/a
Enrolment (2012-13) 13,179

Enrolment data includes all school divisions, independent schools and those First Nations schools which report kindergarten enrolment.

Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. Information on supports for children with special needs in the education system is available on the Government of Saskatchewan website.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

Part-day pre-kindergarten is offered to three- and four-year-olds on a targeted basis to children who would benefit most from enhanced programming. Pre-kindergarten programs are taught by teachers and generally located in schools. In 2012-13, there were 286 pre-kindergarten programs with 4,576 spaces.

Under the Education Act, school boards may provide programming and services for children aged three and older with intensive needs. Settings may include preschools, child care centres, pre-kindergarten or a combination thereof. In 2012-13, funding was provided for over 278 three- and four-year-olds.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities

KidsFirst is an inter-ministerial initiative overseen by the Ministry of Education that supports the capacity of vulnerable families to nurture their children through an array of preventive and early intervention initiatives focussing on children from the prenatal period to age five and their families.

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. For child care staff certification and credentialing in Saskatchewan, please refer to the Government of Saskatchewan website. The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada.

Staff ratio and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
6 weeks-17 months 1:3 6
18-29 months 1:5 10
30 months-6 years 1:10 20
School age* 1:15 30

Note: School age is five years or more and attending a school program other than kindergarten.

Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's own children?
Licensed 8 Yes
Unlicensed 8 Yes

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. In 2012-13, the monthly average of number of children receiving subsidies was 3,650.

Public spending on ECEC

In the Government of Saskatchewan’s Budget for 2012-13, $62,931,000 was allocated for early learning and child care programs funded with the Ministry of Education (Education, Vote 5). This amount includes (but is not necessarily limited to) spending on licensed child care, including operating and capital expenses, wage incentives, special needs and training supports.

In addition, it also included $18,175,000 which was allocated for the Child Care Subsidy Program, under the Ministry of Social Services (Social Services Vote 36).

Allocations for pre-kindergarten totalled $18,600,000. Information on kindergarten spending is not available.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) staff in child care centres, family child care providers prekindergarten teachers and kindergarten teachers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Data not currently available.

Alberta

Overview

In Alberta, ECEC falls under two ministries. Alberta Human Services is responsible for licensed and approved ECEC. Licensed ECEC includes day care programs for children under seven, part-day preschool programs and out of school programs for school-aged children. Family child care is delivered through a contracted agency model and referred to as approved family day homes. Licensed group family child care (which allows for more children provided a second provider is on the premises) is also available. Alberta Education is responsible for Early Childhood Services, which refers to a continuum of programming that is developmentally appropriate and meets the needs of young children and families in a variety of early learning settings, including kindergarten and supports for children with special needs starting as early as two and a half years of age.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available on the Alberta website.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

In this report, licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

In Alberta, there are five categories of licensed ECEC programs. Family day home programs are delivered under a contract model and are referred to as approved programs.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Day care program: a child care program provided to seven or more infants, preschool and kindergarten children for four or more consecutive hours in each day the program is provided.

Preschool program: a child care program provided to preschool and kindergarten children for less than four hours per child in each day the program is provided.

Innovative program: a child care program approved by the director that is designed to meet the unique child care needs of the community in which it is provided.

Out-of-school care program: a child care program provided to kindergarten and school-aged children (under 13) in any or all of the following periods: before and after school; during the lunch hour; when schools are closed.

Group family child care program: a child care program provided in the private residence of the licence holder to a maximum of 10 children, including infants, preschool, kindergarten and school-aged children. Group family child care programs must have two providers on record, and both must be on the premises when more than seven children are in attendance.

Approved family day home: a program in which the regional child and family services authority has entered into an agreement with a family day home agency to coordinate and monitor the provision of child care in the private residence of each approved child care provider according to the Alberta Family Day Home Standards; the maximum number of children is six, including the provider’s own children.

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 53,365
Number of spaces for school-age children 31,284
Total number of centre-based spaces 84,649
Family child care
Number of spaces 11,424
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 96,073

Notes: (1) Data as of March 31, 2013, extracted August 16, 2013.

(2) Centre-based spaces for children aged 0-school entry include day care, preschool and innovative child care, although innovative programs may also serve other ages. (3) Family child care includes licensed group family child care and approved family day home spaces. (4) Totals include 105 on-reserve spaces still in the information system.

Aboriginal ECEC

In Alberta, child care programs on reserve fall under federal jurisdiction and are not required to meet provincial child care legislation. On-reserve child care programs are eligible for federal government funding equivalent to parent child care subsidies when programs request an inspection and receive documentation showing that provincial licensing standards are met. The inspection process became effective January 1, 2012. By March 2013, there were approximately 105 on-reserve child care spaces still tracked in the Alberta Child Care Information System, which are included in the overall total. As the previous timelines for approvals expire, these programs will move to the new inspection process and will not be included in the system used for regulated child care.

Alberta has implemented a process to recognize Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) education programs in approved private vocational training institutions based on a theoretical understanding of all aspects of child development from both an academic and First Nations/Aboriginal knowledge base. Based on content and number of course hours, programs may be eligible for certification as a Child Development Worker or a Child Development Supervisor. Alberta also contracts with early childhood educators to deliver the entry level Child Care Orientation Course in First Nation communities leading to certification as a Child Development Assistant.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 17

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. Information is available on the Child Care for Children with Disabilities and Family Support for Children with Disabilities webpages.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed family child care: Maximum number of children permitted is six under the age of 13, not including the caregiver’s own children.

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories. In Alberta, kindergarten is delivered as part of Early Childhood Services (ECS).

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 18

In Alberta, the Ministry of Education is responsible for providing Early Childhood Services (ECS) under the School Act. These services include half-day Kindergarten (a minimum of 475 hours/year) for children in the year before Grade 1. Although enrolment is optional in Alberta, most children begin school in kindergarten. Early Childhood Services (ECS) refers to “a continuum of programming that is developmentally appropriate and meets the diverse needs of young children and their families.” Kindergarten refers specifically to the educational program for children the year prior to Grade 1. All ECS programs may access additional funding support to meet the needs of children who have additional program needs including children who are:

  • at least 2.5 years of age (on September 1) if the child has been diagnosed with a severe disability or delay;
  • at least 3.5 years of age (on September 1) if the child has a mild/moderate disability or delay or has been assessed and coded as gifted and talented (maximum 2 years funding including kindergarten); and
  • at least 3.5 years of age on September 1 if the child is learning English as a second language or has Francisation needs (maximum 2 years funding including kindergarten).

Funding for ECS programs, including kindergarten, may be accessed by all School Authorities, which includes: school jurisdictions (public, separate, Francophone school boards), Private Schools, Charter Schools and Private ECS Operators.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 4 years and 6 months by Sept 1 (born on or before March 1)
Hours of instruction

Minimum of 475 hours of instructional throughout the school year

(over 75% of school jurisdictions make some provision for Full-Day Kindergarten)

Delivery format Usually part-day, daily
Class size No specific limit, but guidelines established and funding provided to support smaller class sized in K-grade 3
Enrolment (2012-13) 49,146 (approximately 95% of five year olds attend kindergarten)

Funding for ECS programs, including kindergarten, may be accessed by public, Catholic, charter and private schools, or approved private ECS operators.

Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. Information on supports for children with special needs in the education system is available on the Supporting Every Student webpage, and information pertaining specifically to children in Early Childhood Services programs can be found on the Early Childhood Services and Special Education Needs webpage.

Alberta Education has also developed Standards for the Provision of Early Childhood Special Education with respect to educational programming and services for eligible children with special education needs. The standards promote consistent, quality education practices within Alberta with the goal of appropriate programming and services in all locations for ECS children with special education needs, in a manner that serves the best interest of the child.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities

Family resource programs (called Parent Link Centres)

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed and approved ECEC and school aged child care available at

Child Care Licensing Act and Regulations Family Day Home Standards Manual for Alberta provides information on requirements for approved family child care.

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care programs and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section.

For child care staff certification and credentialing in Alberta, please refer to the Alberta website.

The Child Care Staff Certification Guide provides information on requirements for persons working in licensed and approved child care settings in Alberta.

The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council also offers information about credentialing in Canada. Early Childhood Services (ECS): All ECS programs must be under the direction of an Alberta Certificated Teacher and must observe the Teacher Quality Standard (Alberta Ministerial Order #016/97).

Staff ratios and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
Infants-12 months 1:3 6
12 to < 18 months 1:4 8
19 months to < 3 years 1:6 12
3 to < 4.5 years 1:8 16
4.5 years and older* 1:10 20

* 4.5 years and older but not yet attending school. Ratios are relaxed during sleeping times, and maximum group sizes are modified for mixed age groups.

Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's own children?
Licensed 6 Yes
Unlicensed 6 No

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families that meet eligibility criteria. Information on subsidies in Alberta is available on the Child Care Subsidy webpage. As of March 31, 2013, 24,312 children were receiving child care subsidies in licensed and approved programs.

In addition to the subsidy program for licensed/approved child care, other child care subsidy options are available in Alberta, including:

Extended Hours Subsidy: Eligible parents who work or attend classes during evenings or weekends may access extended hours subsidy of up to $100 per month per child.

Stay-at-Home Parents Support: Eligible families who have one parent who stays at home or works, volunteers or attends school less than 20 hours per week may qualify for a subsidy of up to $1,200 per year for each pre-school-aged child who attends a licensed pre-school or an approved early childhood development program.

Kin Child Care: funding to pay for child care by a non-custodial relative of up to $400 per month is available to eligible low- and middle-income families with children under the age of seven and not yet attending Grade 1, and up to $200 for school-age children (Grades 1-6). A total of 3,827 children received subsidy under the kin child care subsidy program during the fiscal year 2012-13.

Infant care incentive is a space subsidy paid to regulated child care programs: $150 is paid per month for each child under 19 months of age who uses more than 8 hours of care in that month. Regulated programs were receiving payments of an average of just over 4,000 infants each month to offset the higher cost of caring for younger children.

Public spending on ECEC

Licensed ECEC: In Alberta Human Services’ Annual Report for 2012-13 (consolidated statement of operations for year ended March 31, 2013), actual expenditures for child care were $258,549,000. This amount includes but is not necessarily limited to subsidy and support costs, capital grants and accreditation.

Other: Alberta Human Services’ expenditures for Parenting Resources Initiatives totalled $30,200,000.

Kindergarten: Alberta Education’s Audited Financial Statements and Schedules to the Financial Statements - Report of Expenses by Program for 2010-2011 shows actual expenditures for ECS instruction (including but not limited to kindergarten) were $263,735,082 (excludes private schools and private ECS operators).

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to), staff in child care programs, family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

In Alberta’s child care sector, there were nearly 12,500 (12,490) certified staff actively working in regulated child care programs as of March 31, 2013.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Child development assistant $14.78

Hourly wage includes the Alberta government wage incentives for staff working at accredited programs.

Child development worker $18.38
Child development supervisor $22.49

British Columbia

Overview

In British Columbia two ministries share responsibility for licensed ECEC: the Ministry of Children and Family Development (early childhood development and child care programs and services) and the Ministry of Health (child care licensing). Licensed ECEC includes several forms of group care, preschool, family child care, occasional child care and multi-age care. Family child care providers are individually licensed, and unlicensed care providers are referred to as licence-not-required (LNR) providers, who may be registered for the purposes of referrals and subsidies. The Ministry of Education is responsible for kindergarten and other school-delivered ECEC programs. Kindergarten is an optional full-day program, and StrongStart BC (a program for children younger than kindergarten accompanied by a parent or caregiver) is also offered through the school system.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available on the Leaves and Jury Duty Factsheet.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Group child care (under 36 months): group care for no more than 13 hours/day for no more than 12 children staffed by licensed Early Childhood Educators (EC)/Infant Toddler ECEs/ECE Assistants, depending on the group size and ages of children.

Group child care (30 months to school age): group care for no more than 13 hours/day for no more than 25 children staffed by licensed ECE/Infant Toddler ECEs/ECE Assistants, depending on the group size and ages of children.

Preschool (30 months to school age): group programs that provide child care to preschool-age children for no more than four hours/day per child for no more than 20 children staffed by licensed ECE/Infant Toddler ECEs/ECE Assistants, depending on the group size and ages of children.

Group child care (school age): group care outside school hours, including during school vacations, for children attending school, for no more than 13 hours/day for no more than 24 children (if kindergarten and Grade 1 children are present), or no more than 30 children (if all children are in Grade 2 or higher) staffed by Responsible Adults (as defined in the Child Care Licensing Regulations).

Family child care: care in a private home for no more than 13 hours/day for no more than seven children under 13 years of age, including the provider’s own children under the age of 12 staffed by Responsible Adults (as defined in the Child Are Licensing Regulations).

Occasional child care: occasional or short-term care for children who are least 18 months old, for no more than eight hours/day to each child and no more than 40 hours in a calendar month to each child; maximum number of children depends on age groupings.

Group multi-age child care: group care by an early childhood educator to groups of eight children of various ages (restrictions apply regarding age groupings) staffed by a licensed ECE.

In-home multi-age child care: care by an early childhood educator to no more than eight children in the educator’s personal residence (restrictions apply regarding age groupings) staffed by a licensed ECE.

Child-minding: group care for up to 24 children whose families are engaged in government services (English language, settlement or labour market integration) provided to immigrants (restrictions apply regarding age groupings).

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 57,137
Number of spaces for school-age children 31,705
Total number of centre-based spaces 88,842
Family child care
Number of spaces 15,524
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 104,366

Notes: (1) Data is for 2012-13. (2) Centre-based spaces for ages 0-school entry include group multi-age age care (2,253 spaces), although these spaces are not limited to younger children. (3) The number of regulated child care spaces in both centres and family child care homes are those that received Child Care Operating Funding (CCOF) in 2012-13 and include on-reserve child care spaces. Information on the number of spaces that did not receive CCOF is not available and is not included in the totals; however, the majority of licensed child care providers in the province receive operating funding.

Aboriginal ECEC

On-reserve child care services are licensed and funded by the province through the same programs available to other facilities, parents and providers. A number of post-secondary educational institutions have developed training for Aboriginal ECEs, and the provincial government provides funding to the British Columbia Aboriginal Child Care Society to provide training and workshops, resource and referral services to Aboriginal child care providers.

In 2012-13, the number of licensed, ministry funded child care facilities located on reserve was 235Footnote 19, and the number of licensed, funded child care spaces was 6,295,Footnote 20 which is included in the overall count of child care spaces for British Columbia.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 21

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed child care, referred to as “licence not required” (LNR) care; LNR providers can care for a maximum of two children, or a sibling group, not including the care provider’s own children (from birth up to and including age 12). LNR providers must meet specific health and safety criteria including a criminal record check and a home inspection to register with a Child Care Resource and Referral Program, in which case they are referred to as “registered licence not required” (RLNR) providers; however, registration is voluntary. Families with children in care with an RLNR provider may be eligible to receive a higher subsidy rate than those with children in care with unregistered LNR providers.

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 22

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction 853 hours of instruction
Delivery format Full-day, daily
Class size Maximum of 22 (average aggregate: 19)
Enrolment (2012-13) 44,058

Enrolment data includes public and independent schools (about 87% of kindergarten students attend public schools). Kindergarten in independent schools may be full- or part-day.

Kindergarten for Aboriginal children

Aboriginal children who do not live on reserve are part of the general kindergarten population of each province. Kindergarten for children living on reserve is made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s First Nations Elementary/Secondary Education program. Refer to the Federal Government section for information. In British Columbia, there are several kindergarten or pre-kindergarten initiatives specific to Aboriginal children under Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. Information on supports for children with special needs in the education system is available on the British Columbia website. School districts are advised to coordinate the entry of children with special needs to school and to plan the kindergarten program in consultation with programs that have been offered in the preschool years. In some cases, school districts may contract for services through a preschool or child development centre for some portion of the child’s educational programming in the kindergarten year, subject to ensuring that all aspects of the School Act are met.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

StrongStart BC is an early learning program operated by school boards and funded by the Ministry of Education for children from birth to age five and accompanied by an adult. Qualified ECEs lead play-based learning activities intended to support all domains of children’s development. There are 326 programs across B.C and almost all school districts offer StrongStart BC. Any family with young children may participate free of charge. Outreach programs are available in rural and remote communities.

Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based classroom program for students aged five to 14 aimed at reducing childhood aggression, bullying and violence in schools and communities.

Ready, Set, Learn is an early learning initiative that funds school districts and independent schools to offer early learning events in local schools. Families and their three year olds who attend engage in play-based early learning activities while finding out about the early learning programs and services offered by the local school district and/or school. Many host schools also provide additional resources to help influence school readiness.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities

The Supported Child Development program is a family-centred, community-based program that assists families and child care providers to fully include children needing extra support in typical child care settings. The program serves children from birth to 12 years old, with services for youth 13-19 years old available in some communities. Services include individualized planning, training, information and resources, referrals to other specialised services and, when required, staffing supports. Participation is voluntary and Supported Child Development services are provided at no charge to parents; however, parents are responsible for child care fees.

Family Resource Programs provide community-based services intended to support the healthy development of children and families and build family and community connections.

Aboriginal Family Resource Programs provide Aboriginal children and families with access to culturally appropriate family support services and resources both on- and off-reserve.

Child Care Resource and Referral programs assist parents to find child care and offer training and supports to child care providers.

The Aboriginal Early Childhood Development Regional Initiative supports Aboriginal communities in the delivery of culturally appropriate early childhood development services, both on and off reserve, through 43 Aboriginal agencies. The goal of the initiative is to increase the overall health and well-being of Aboriginal children and to increase awareness, outreach and access to a wide range of culturally appropriate programs and services.

The First Nations, Urban Aboriginal Early Childhood Development Reinvestment Initiative supports community capacity so that effective, quality and culturally appropriate early childhood development services can be developed by members of the Aboriginal community and delivered to Aboriginal children, youth and families.

Success By 6® is an internationally branded United Way initiative that supports communities working together to improve outcomes for children, from birth to six years, by ensuring access to resources and programs that support healthy child development and growth.

Seeds of Empathy is a program designed to develop social and emotional literacy in children aged three to five in various preschool, child care and Aboriginal preschool settings.

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

  • Licensed ECEC
    • Responsibility for licensed ECEC is shared between two ministries: the Ministry of Children and Family Development for early childhood development and child care programs and services and the Ministry of Health for child care licensing regulation and policy. The monitoring and inspection of ECEC is administered at the local level by regional Health Authority Programs.
  • Kindergarten

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. The Early Childhood Registry is responsible for the certification of ECEs and ECE Assistants in British Columbia as well as the recognition and monitoring of ECE post-secondary education programs and the investigation of practice issues. Information on credentialing in Canada is also available on the website of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council.

Staff ratios and group sizes

Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
Under 36 months 1:4 12
30 months-school entry 1:8 25
Preschool 1:10 20
Kindergarten/Gr. 1 1:12 24
Above Gr. 1 1:15 30
Multi-age 1:8 8
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's own children?
Licensed 7(8 for in-home multi-age child care) Yes
Unlicensed 2 or a sibling group No

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria.

In 2012-13, the monthly average of children receiving subsidies was 24,285. The total number of distinct families and children receiving subsidies in 2012-13 was 33,966 and 48,274 respectively.

Public spending on ECEC

According to the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Revised 2013-14 to 2015-16 Service Plan (see Resource Summary in the linked document), estimated operating expenses for early childhood development and child care services in 2012-13 were $258,042,000. This does not include approximately $56.6 million for the Supported Child Development Program.

For kindergarten, in 2012-13 total operating funding allocated based on enrolment was $317 million.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to), staff in child care centres, family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Median hourly wage Comments/details
Owner/operator $19.00

Source: 2012-13 Annual Child Care Provider Profile Survey. Median wages are reported. Full- and part-time positions are combined.

Administrator $22.68
Program supervisor $18.55
Senior caregiver $17.05
Caregiver $16.00
Supported Child Development Worker $15.50
Assistant $14.45
Other $17.36

Yukon

Overview

In Yukon, the Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for licensed ECEC, which includes child care centres, school-age child care and family child care. Licensed family child care homes are known as family day homes and are individually licensed. The Department of Education is responsible for kindergarten, which is optional and offered on a full-day basis for most children. Some rural Yukon communities offer kindergarten across two years as half-time K4 and half-time K5; some offer full-day K5 and half-day K4.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available on the Employment Standards Frequently Asked Questions – September 2013 webpage.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Child care centre: group care for less than 24 hours/day for four or more children up to and including 12 years of age in a place other than a preschool, school-age program or family day home.

School-age child care: care outside school hours for eight or more school-aged children attending Grade 1 or higher to 12 years.

Family day home: care in a private home for mixed-age groups up to a maximum of eight children (plus four school age children with an assistant) including the provider’s own children who are not yet attending Grade 1.

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry n/a
Number of spaces for school-age children n/a
Total number of centre-based spaces 1,154
Family child care
Number of spaces 229
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 1,383

Note: Data is as of March 31, 2013.

Aboriginal ECEC

Yukon does not have reserves and all child care facilities function under the same governance parameters. There are nine child care centres which are operated by First Nations communities. The spaces in these centres (273) are included in the overall count.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 23

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. Information is available at:

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 24

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 4 years and 8 months by Sept 1
Hours of instruction 950 hours/year full-day; 475 half-day
Delivery format Usually full-day, daily

Whitehorse: Full-day; daily

Some rural communities: half-day K4 and half-day K5 (they split their kindergarten allotment over two years)

Class size Maximum 18-20 (average 13)
Enrolment (2012-13) 404

Most kindergarten programs (about two-thirds) are full-day. Yukon uses British Columbia’s kindergarten curriculum.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. The Whitehorse Child Development Centre may provide assistance for particular students in kindergarten.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

Rural communities offer kindergarten for four-year-olds. There is also a francophone kindergarten for four-year-olds in Whitehorse.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed family child care

Preschools operating for less than three consecutive hours.

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. Information on credentialing is also available on the website of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council.

Staff ratios and group sizes

Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
0-18 months 1:4 8
18 months-3 years 1:6 12
3 years to Grade 1 1:8 16
Grade 1 and up 1:12 24
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)

Governance

Number of children

Includes provider's own children?
Licensed 8 (plus 4 school age children with an assistant) Y (not including own children in Grade 1 and up).
Unlicensed 3 No

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. In 2012-13, an average of 524 children per month received subsidies.

Public spending on ECEC

In 2012-2013, $7,661,000 was allocated for licensed ECEC inclusive of direct operating funding and subsidy. For more information, see the publications of the Department of Finance.

Information on kindergarten spending is not available.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) kindergarten teachers, staff in child care centres and family child care providers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff (2012-13)
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Level I $16.92
Level II $19.07
Level III $21.93
Level IV $26.12

Northwest Territories

Overview

Regulated child care and kindergarten in the Northwest Territories are both under the responsibility of the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (Early Childhood and School Services). All regulated child care is non-profit with several part-day programs operated by school boards. Regulated family child care homes are termed regulated day homes. Kindergarten may be full or part-day; most are full-day. By September 2016, all NWT families will have the option to enroll their 4 and 5 year old children for two years of kindergarten.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial/territorial labour legislation for most employees.

Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered on a fee-paying basis in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Child Day Care Facility: a child day care facility where day care is provided other than a private residence (home) for children up to 12 years of age.

Preschool Day Care: Programs for children under six years of age for four consecutive hours a day or less, including Aboriginal Head Start programs.

After-school care: Care outside school hours for school-aged children 5 years up to and including 11 years of age.

Family home day care facility: Day care provided in the home of the person who operates the facility for a maximum of 8 child spaces (2 infant, 4 preschool and 2 after school spaces).

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group*
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry** 969
Number of spaces for school-age children 503
Total number of centre-based spaces 1,472
Family child care
Number of spaces 400
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 1,872

*Data is as at June 3, 2014.

**All centres are licensed for full-time spaces even though many operate as part-day nursery schools/playschools.

Aboriginal ECEC

Aboriginal ECEC is licensed and funded the same as any ECEC program in the NWT.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 25

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. Licensed ECEC providers who identify children enrolled with special needs are funded at a higher daily rate. Licensed programs are also eligible to apply for Healthy Children Initiative funding.

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 26

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction Full-day program (option of attending half day; parent’s choice)
Delivery format Full-day, daily
Class size n/a
Enrolment 635

*Data is as at September 30, 2013.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs. NWT has an inclusive schooling policy. The Department of ECE provides conditional funding for inclusive schooling. The current funding model for inclusive schooling is based on a formula that considers student enrolment, the number of communities served and other cost factors such as freight indexes. Overall school contributions have increased significantly, and as such, so has inclusive schooling funding. In the 2013-14 school year, approximately $27 million was provided to school boards to fund inclusive schooling for kindergarten to Grade 12. This funding is part of the approximately $150 million ECE provides to school boards, out of a total departmental budget of $300 million, for the education of children from kindergarten to Grade 12. The school boards have the ability to allocate their budgets each year to a variety of programs and services.

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available at:

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section.

Information on credentialing is also available on the website of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council.

Staff Ratios and Group Sizes

Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
Under 24 months 1:4 8
25 months – school entry 1:8 16
4 year olds only 1:9 18
Kindergarten – 11 years of age 1:10 30
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's own children?
Licensed 8 Yes
Unlicensed 4 Yes

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. In the NWT many small communities offer licenced child care at no cost to parents.

The Government of Northwest Territories Department of Education, Culture and Employment’s Income Assistance Program provides Financial Assistance to Northerners to help meet basic and enhanced needs such as child care.

Public spending on ECEC

Licensed ECEC: In the 2013-14 Education, Culture and Employment Business Plan, $7,308,000 was expended for the Early Childhood Program in 2012-13.

Kindergarten: Information on kindergarten spending is not available.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) staff in child care centres, and family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Data is not collected.

Nunavut

Overview

In Nunavut, licensed ECEC and kindergarten are both under the Department of Education. Licensed ECEC includes day care centres, nursery schools, after-school care and family child care. Family child care homes are called family day homes and are individually licensed. Kindergarten is an optional part-day program for all five-year-olds.

Parental leave and benefits

Working parents may be eligible for job-protected leave from work and/or income support in the period surrounding the birth or adoption of a child. Leave is provincial labour legislation for most employees. Information on provision for maternity and parental leave is available on the Labour Standards Act web page. Parents may be entitled to income benefits under the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program. Information on EI maternity and parental claims (number of claims, average length of claim, average amount of benefit and total amount paid) is available in the annual EI Monitoring and Assessment Report.

In Nunavut, maternity leave is termed “pregnancy leave.”

Availability of ECEC

Licensed Early Childhood Education and Care

Licensed ECEC refers to services offered in facilities or homes which are licensed or approved within the regulatory system of a province/territory. Specific terminology may vary among jurisdictions.

Forms of licensed ECEC

Day care centres: group care with instruction and supervision for five or more children aged 0-12 years by a person who is not a relative of the majority of the children.

Preschools: programs for children under six years of age for four consecutive hours a day or less, including Aboriginal Head Start programs.

After-school care: care outside school hours for school-aged children up to and including 11 years of age.

Family day homes: care in a private home for up to eight children under 12 years (including the provider’s own children).

Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group
Centre-based
Number of spaces for 0-school entry 926
Number of spaces for school-age children 147
Total number of centre-based spaces 1,073
Family child care
Number of spaces 8
Total number of spaces for ages 0-12 1,081

Note: Data is as of March 31, 2013.

Aboriginal ECEC

There are no reserves in Nunavut. All programs in Nunavut have Aboriginal (Inuit) children. There are seven Aboriginal Heat Start Programs in Nunavut.

Refer to the Federal Government section for information on federal funding for Aboriginal ECEC programs.

Children with special needsFootnote 27

All provinces and territories have programs to support eligible children with special needs to participate in licensed ECEC. There are no segregated child care programs for children with special needs. Care providers are funded to provide extra support for children with special needs through the daily operating grants.

Unlicensed ECEC

Unlicensed family child care

Early Childhood Education and Care in the education systemFootnote 28

Kindergarten

All provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs for the year preceding Grade 1 entry, funded by ministries of education. These programs are usually referred to as kindergarten and are generally offered on an optional basis. However, there are some variations among provinces and territories.

Key characteristics and enrolment
Basis of attendance Optional
Age eligibility 5 years by Dec 31
Hours of instruction Minimum 485 hours/year, maximum 570
Delivery format Part-day, daily
Class size n/a
Enrolment (2012-13) 787

Kindergarten teachers in Nunavut may have general teacher certification or be certified specifically as a kindergarten teacher. The latter requires one of the following: (1) a two-year program in ECE, successful completion of two academic years of classroom teaching and completion of courses for one-year teacher training; or (2) a letter of authority which requires a one-year ECE program or some coursework towards a Bachelor of Education, and must be renewed annually.

Children with special needs

All provinces and territories provide supports to children with special needs to enable their participation in kindergarten programs.

Other ECEC programs through the education system

The K-12 Division has an ECE section to support the development of language and cultural resources for all ECE programs as part of the implementation of bilingual education the K-12 school system.

Other forms of ECEC, or other relevant programs or activities
  • Family resource programs
  • Early literacy programs

Legislation, regulations and standards

This section provides information about the governance structure of ECEC and legislative and regulatory requirements or other standards for various forms of ECEC.

Governance structure

Legislation and regulations

The legislation governing licensed ECEC and kindergarten is available from the Department of Education.

Information on child care facility and licensing is available from the Department of Education.

Detailed information on requirements and standards is available in the legislation and regulations. Some key features immediately follow.

Credentials and staffing requirements

For detailed information on staffing requirements in child care centres and qualifications for family child care providers, consult the legislation and regulations section. Information on credentialing is also available on the website of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council.

Staff ratios and group sizes
Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
Age Staff: child ratio Group size
0-12 months 1:3 6
13-24 months 1:4 8
25-35 months 1:6 12
3 years 1:8 16
4 years 1:9 18
5-11 years 1:10 20
Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
Governance Number of children Includes provider's own children?
Licensed 8 Yes
Unlicensed 4 Yes

Parent fees and subsidies

In all participating jurisdictions, parents are usually charged fees for licensed ECEC. Subsidies may be available for families which meet certain criteria. In addition to its day care subsidy program (Department of Family Services), Nunavut offers the Young Parents Stay Learning program (Department of Education). Information on these programs is available at:

In 2012-13, 91 families benefited from the Day Care User Subsidy, and 53 families from Young Parents Stay Learning (cumulative totals for the entire year).

Public spending on ECEC

In the Government of Nunavut’s Budget for 2012-13, $5,300,000 was allocated for Early Childhood Services. See Main Estimates for 2012-13, Under Department of Education - Summary of Grants and Contributions. This amount includes (but is not necessarily limited to) spending on licensed child care, including operating and capital expenses, wage incentives, special needs, and subsidies.

Information on kindergarten spending is not available.

ECEC workforce

The ECEC workforce includes (but is not limited to) staff in child care centres, family child care providers and kindergarten teachers.

Remuneration of centre-based child care staff
Staff type Average hourly wage Comments/details
Teachers $18.55

Average wages are for full- and part-time staff combined, 2011-12.

Assistant teachers $16.75
Directors/Managers $27.78

Comparable data and information

Table 1: Number of licensed ECEC spaces by setting and age group, 2013 (see provincial/territorial sections for notes or clarifications on individual jurisdictions)
P/T Centre-based spaces for ages 0-school entry Centre-based spaces for school-age children Family child care spaces Total number of licensed spaces for children 0-12
NL 6,999* 732 7,731
PE 3,091 1,105 28 4,224
NS 13,142 3,577 882 17,601
NB 10,960 10,835 854 22,649
ON 185,739 108,795 16,807 311,341
MB 19,199 9,381 3,054 31,634
SK 9,377 1,375 2,020 12,772
AB 53,365 31,284 11,424 96,073
BC 57,137 31,705 15,524 104,366
YT 1,154* 229 1,383
NT** 969 503 400 1,872
NU 926 147 8 1,081
TOTAL 612,727

Notes:

General: This data is limited to licensed ECEC spaces. Numerous other forms of ECEC are available in Canada. For example, all provinces and territories offer universally accessible tax-funded ECEC programs through their education systems in the year before Grade 1 (usually known as kindergarten), and many offer other forms of ECEC. Forms of ECEC targeted to Aboriginal children include Head Start programs and on-reserve kindergarten and nursery programs. For further information, see individual sections.

Quebec: Quebec did not contribute to the publication because it considers education and child care to be areas under its jurisdiction.

On-reserve spaces: In most cases, totals include on-reserve licensed ECEC spaces. Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan do not include on-reserve spaces in their totals, and Alberta is no longer collecting this data. For further information, see individual sections.

*Number of centre-based spaces broken down by age group is not available for Newfoundland and Labrador or Yukon.

** Data is as at June 3, 2014.

Table 2: Maximum staff: child ratios and group sizes in centre-based care
P/T 12 months 36 months 60 months
Ratio Group size Ratio Group size Ratio Group size
NL 1:3 6 1:5 10 1:12 24
PE 1:3 6 1:10 n/a 1:12 n/a
NS 1:4 10 1:8 24 1:15 30
NB 1:3 9 1:7 14 1:12 24
ON 3:10 (1:3.3) 10 1:8 16 1:12 24
MB 1:4 8 1:8 16 1:10 20
SK 1:3 6 1:10 20 1:10 20
AB 1:4 8 1:8 16 1:10 20
BC 1:4 12 1:8 25 1:12 24
YT* 1:4 8 1:8 16 1:8 16
NT 1:4 8 1:8 16 1:10 30
NU 1:3 6 1:8 16 1:10 20

Some provinces and territories have overlapping age ranges, and an age may fall into more than one group. In these instances, the older age range has been chosen. Ratios and group sizes may differ if groups include mixed age categories. See provincial/territorial sections for more detail or clarification on individual jurisdictions.

*In Yukon a school age child is defined as Grade 1 and up (60 months, or kindergarten, is still considered preschool). School age ratios are 1:12, with a maximum group size of 24.

Table 3: Maximum number of children in family child care (other restrictions may apply)
P/T Licensed family child care Unlicensed family child care
Maximum Includes provider's own children? Maximum Includes provider's own children?
NL 6 Yes 4 Yes
PE 7 Yes 5 Yes
NS 6 (mixed age) Yes 6 (mixed age) Yes
NB 6 Yes 5 Yes
ON 5 Yes (under 6 years) 5 No
MB 8 Yes 4 Yes
SK 8 Yes 8 Yes
AB 6 Yes 6 No
BC 7(8 for In-Home Multi-Age) Yes 2 or a sibling group No
YT 8+4 school age children with an assistant Yes (who are not yet in Grade 1) 3 No
NT 8 Yes 4 Yes
NU 8 Yes 4 Yes

In many jurisdictions, a lower maximum applies depending on the ages of the children (e.g. if more younger children are present). See provincial/territorial sections for details or clarifications on individual jurisdictions.

Table 4: Key characteristics of kindergarten and kindergarten enrolment
P/T Basis of attendance Age eligibility Hours of instruction Delivery format Class size Enrolment*(2012-13)
NL Optional 5 years by Dec 31 2.5 hours/day (475 hours/year) Usually part-day, daily Provincial limit of 20 4,911
PE Mandatory 5 years by Dec 31 5 hours/day Full-day, daily Based on 18 children 1,477 public and private
NS Optional 5 years by Dec 31 Minimum 4 hours/day Full-day, daily Limit of 27 (plus 2 for flexibility) 8,644
NB Mandatory 5 years by Dec 31 Min 4/max 4.5 hours per day Full-day, daily Maximum 22 (average 17) 7,352
ON Optional 4 years by Dec 31 Full day is 300 instructional minutes Full-day, daily for 4 and 5 year olds universal by Sept 2014 Average of 26 (2 educators: teacher and registered early childhood educator) Senior K (5 year old): 133,151 Junior K (4 year old):126,344
MB Optional 5 years by Dec 31 Minimum 460 hours in

2012-13

Varies by school board Limit of 20 for K-3 by Sept 2017 13,919
SK Optional Varies by board; usually 5 years by Dec 31 Minimum 80 full-day equivalents Usually part-day, daily n/a 13,179
AB Optional 4 years and 6 months by Sept 1 (born on or before Mar 1) Minimum 475 hours throughout the school year Usually part-day, daily No specific limit but K-3 classes are smaller 49,146
BC Optional 5 years by Dec 31 Minimum of 853 hours of instruction Full-day, daily Maximum of 22 (average aggregate: 19) 44,058
YT Optional 4 years and 8 months by Sept 1 950 hours/year full-day; 475 half-day Usually full-day, daily Maximum

18-20 (average 13)

404
NT Optional 5 years by Dec 31 Full-day, daily n/a 635
NU Optional 5 years by Dec 31 Minimum 485 hours/year, maximum 570 Part-day, daily n/a 787

*See individual P/T chapters for parameters of enrolment data.

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