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Study: Child care use during and after the pandemic

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Released: 2020-07-29

Approximately 1 in 10 parents of children younger than 15 years of age reported that their child or children were attending child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new study released today by Statistics Canada provides a snapshot of the child care experiences of parents and families with children, both during and after child care closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way of life for Canadian families, parents, and children. Child care is one service that has been dramatically changed—prior to COVID-19, many parents were using child care services for work, study, or other reasons. However, parents' ability to return to work may hinge on their child care options.

Child care use varied across the country during the first months of the pandemic, with 30% of study participants in the Northwest Territories using child care, and 5% in Quebec and Ontario.

Almost one-quarter of participants said their children would not return to child care upon re-opening. Of those participants, almost half (49%) said that they would not attend because they were concerned about the health of their child or other members of their household; 32% would no longer need child care services; 13% would have family or friends take care of their children; and 6% said that they could no longer afford child care services. However, about one in three participants said that once formal child care services re-opened, their children would resume attending.

Map 1  Thumbnail for map 1: Child care use during the COVID-19 pandemic, by province and territory
Child care use during the COVID-19 pandemic, by province and territory

  Note to readers

The study is based on data from the Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians: Parenting During the Pandemic: Data Collection Series. This crowdsourcing online questionnaire was designed to collect information about family concerns and activities during COVID-19 from parents of children aged 0 to 14 living in Canada. From June 9 to June 22, approximately 32,000 participants completed the voluntary online questionnaire. Readers should note that crowdsourcing data are not collected under a sample design using probability-based sampling. As a result, the findings cannot be applied to the overall Canadian population.


The research article "Child care use during and after the COVID-19 pandemic" is now available as part of the series StatCan COVID-19: Data to Insights for a Better Canada (Catalogue number45280001).

Also released today is an infographic, titled "Child care use during and after the pandemic," which is part of the series Statistics Canada – Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M).

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Leanne Findlay,; Health Analysis Division.

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