Education is very important in Canada. In fact, Canada spends more per capita on its education system than most industrialized countries. However, until recently the country did not offer funding or subsidies for early childhood education programs and parents were struggling—as in the US and Australia—to find the funds to pay for early childhood education and care.
On March 13, 2003, the Federal, Provincial, Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services decided to build on the Early Childhood Development Agreement (ECDA) by agreeing to supplement funding of ECDA programs. The Government of Canada is providing funds totaling $800 million (Canadian) over five years to support provincial and territorial government investments in regulated programs for children under six. This is the closest that governments in Canada have come to agreeing on a national early child education and care program.
As noted by Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources, this agreement is working to "improve access to affordable, quality, provincially, and territorially regulated child care and early learning right across the country."