Public policy decisions on childcare require comprehensive data, AIMS’ study advises.
In his report, Checking the Math on Childcare, commissioned by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), Ian Munro cautions Canadians about promises for a federal childcare program. The author takes no issue with any specific promise but highlights the absence of data on which to base decisions for a national programme.
The results, if done poorly according to Munro, could lead to the “all too real possibility of grandiose childcare schemes ultimately manifesting the worst aspects of our health care system.” Munro also contends that Canadians “should be made aware of the specifics so as to accrue the benefits while avoiding unnecessary costs.”
AIMS president and CEO, Marco Navarro-Genie, is urging policymakers from all political parties to review the Munro paper.
“As an independent public policy think tank, we have no stake in convincing Canadians of the arguments for or against a national childcare program,” says Navarro-Genie. “We are hoping Canadians will debate the question and make educated decisions for themselves as to the merits of the policy options.”
Munro argues the best course of action is to let Statistics Canada address the problem and supply hard data before diving into expensive fixes. There may indeed be need for more childcare spaces, and it would be good to know where and to what measure.
“Statistics Canada has not addressed the question of national childcare since the 1980s,” says Munro. “By jumping into a solution before really understanding the question, we risk a major policy failure which could be costly for Canadians.”
“There are sound arguments for government support in certain aspects of childcare provision,” adds Munro. “If done well, significant benefits may accrue; if neglected, opportunities will be lost.”
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The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is a Canadian non-profit, non-partisan research institute that provides a distinctive Atlantic Canadian perspective on economic, political, and social issues. The Institute seeks to stimulate public debate with well-considered argument and evidence-based data. AIMS sets the benchmark on public policy by drawing together the most innovative thinking available from some of the world’s foremost experts and applying that thinking to the challenges facing Canadians.