StatsCan Childcare Survey Shows Parents Prefer Children Raised at Home, Not Daycare

Wed Apr 5, 2006 - 12:15 pm EST

by Hilary White

OTTAWA, April 5, 2006 ( - Statistics Canada reveals that Canadians prefer to raise their children at home and that their preference is for childcare by a relative in the child’s home and not in daycare.

The numbers released today show a shift away from outside childcare and lend support for the Conservative Party’s $1200 per child annual child care payment. The Conservative party relied heavily during the election on Canadian opposition to the former Liberal government’s plan to create a massive state-funded universal childcare system.

The study shows that the proportion of children cared for outside the home by a non-relative (the most common form of child care in 1994-1995) fell in 2002-03 from 43% to 30%. The proportion of children cared for by a relative either inside or outside the child’s home rose from 22% to nearly 30%. Only in Quebec was there a significant jump in the use of daycare centres from 25% to 52%.

The Conservative Party’s “Choice in Childcare” program was the cornerstone of Stephen Harper’s election campaign and polls have shown that it was popular with the majority of Canadian voters weary of huge and expensive social programs. During the campaign, Harper said, “Our plan provides money directly to parents. You can spend that money the way you see fit. You can choose the child care option that best suits your family’s needs.”

Overall, StatsCan shows that care by a non-relative outside the home – the proposed universal system pushed by the Liberal government and backed by the NDP and Bloc – is down in all provinces. Childcare by a relative in the child’s home rose from 8% in 1994-1995 to 14% in 2002-2003. In British Columbia and Alberta this type of care almost tripled from 8% to 21% and 6% to 17%, respectively, during the eight-year period.

A coalition of leftists and Opposition MP’s have formed to try to pressure the government to retain the Liberal party’s plan for universal, state-sponsored childcare. Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress revealed the coalition’s feminist ideological bias saying, “This government has its focus on the family all wrong. For working women, childcare is all about equality.”

Conservative MP, Rona Ambrose, a feminist and then-Opposition critic for intergovernmental affairs said before the election that the Liberal Party’s insistence on state-run childcare showed their contempt for the real preferences of Canadian mothers.

“We fought long and hard for the right to vote, the right to participate in universities and the work force, and the right to make our own choices. We don’t need old white guys telling us what to do,” Ambrose said in the House.

See previous reports on daycare:

Study Shows Canada’s Universal Daycare Plan Has “Strikingly Negative” Consequences
  Study: Mothers Care Best for Toddlers, Daycare is Disastrous and Even Relatives Are Lacking
  Study Finds Daycare Damages Babies Brain Chemistry
  Liberal’s “Universal” Childcare Leaves Out 75% of Canadian Families
  Preschool Damages Children’s Social Skills and Emotional Development
  Study Links Child Aggression to Time in Day Care

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