- The Canadian Survey on the Provision of Child Care Services (CSPCCS) collected information on childcare services in Canada in 2022, with 45,366 businesses providing childcare services.
- Childcare centers, licensed home-based providers, and unlicensed home-based providers make up the majority of childcare businesses, with full-time child care being the most common service offered.
- Childcare providers face challenges such as waitlists, availability of childcare spaces, staffing difficulties, and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canadian Survey on the Provision of Child Care Services (CSPCCS) collected information about the provision of child care services in Canada for children aged 12 and younger in the spring of 2022. In total, 45,366 businesses across Canada provided child care services, with 31% of them being child care centers, 33% being licensed home-based settings, and 36% being unlicensed home-based settings.
Child Care Business Categories
Child care centers are typically located in non-residential buildings and generally serve a larger number of children than licensed and unlicensed home-based care providers. In 2022, centers reported that they had 821,298 children enrolled, while licensed and unlicensed home care providers reported fewer children, with 96,677 and 73,821 children enrolled respectively.
Licensed home-based providers adhere to established regulations determined by provincial or territorial standards, are smaller in terms of the number of children attending, and generally have no additional employees. Unlicensed home-based childcare providers are also small in terms of the number of children attending and generally have no employees but choose to provide a service outside of the regulated system, with the only requirement being a maximum number of children at one time.
|Category of Child Care Businesses||Percentage|
|Child Care Centers||31%|
|Licensed Home-Based Providers||33%|
|Unlicensed Home-Based Providers||36%|
Types of Child Care Services Offered
Childcare providers offer various childcare options to parents, including care that is full-time or part-time, before and after school, evenings, weekends, overnight, drop-in and flexible programs. Full-time child care was the most common service offered in all types of childcare businesses. In 2022, 81% of child care centers, 94% of licensed home-based child care providers, and 76% of unlicensed home-based providers offered full-time child care. Conversely, part-time programs were less common, with 63% of childcare centers, 33% of licensed home-based providers, and 50% of unlicensed home-based providers offering this type of care. Unlicensed home-based providers were more likely to offer child care during non-standard hours (that is, evenings, weekends, and overnight) and were more likely to offer flexible child care (16%) in comparison to centers (11%) and licensed homes (8%).
Waitlists and Availability of Child Care Spaces
According to the CSPCCS, in 2022, 78% of childcare centers had active waitlists, indicating that many parents had difficulties finding childcare services. The survey did not collect information from parents, so it is not possible to determine the reason why children were on the waitlist. The CSPCCS also assessed the availability of childcare spaces. About 4 in 10 child care centers reported having at least one available full-time spot, followed by one-quarter of licensed home-based settings and 19% of unlicensed home-based settings. The CSPCCS did not collect information on the age categories in which spaces were available.
In spring 2022, about one in three (34%) childcare centers were looking to fill a vacant position for an employee with Early Childhood Education credentials or training. Almost 90% of child care centers reported having difficulties filling vacant positions, with the most common reasons being applicants’ lack of qualifications, few or no applicants to choose from, and applicants’ lack of related work experience.
Challenges due to COVID-19
Nearly all centers reported negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic in the year before the interview, with common impacts related to increased costs associated with COVID-19 health and safety requirements, reduced child enrollment, and difficulties in recruiting and retaining skilled staff. The report suggests that the pandemic has put added pressure on an already strained childcare system in Canada.
|Category||Child Care Centers||Licensed Home-Based Providers||Unlicensed Home-Based Providers|
|Full-time enrollment (2022)||821,298||96,677||73,821|
|Child care during non-standard hours||11%||8%||16%|
|Flexible child care||16%||8%||11%|
|Available full-time spots||40%||25%||19%|
|Centers with vacant position||34%||-||-|
|Centers facing staffing difficulties||90%||-||-|
|Negative impacts from COVID-19 pandemic||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The Canadian Survey on the Provision of Child Care Services (CSPCCS) found that 45,366 businesses provided child care services in Canada in 2022, with 31% being child care centers, 33% being licensed home-based settings, and 36% being unlicensed home-based settings. The survey also revealed challenges faced by childcare providers, including waitlists, availability of childcare spaces, staffing difficulties, and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report suggests that the pandemic has put added pressure on an already strained childcare system in Canada.