Impact of the low-fee universal childcare program in Quebec, 1998 to 2015

Release date: July 27, 2022
Infographic: Impact of the low-fee Universal childcare program in Quebec, 1998 to 2015
Description: Impact of the low-fee universal childcare program in Quebec, 1998 to 2015

Quebec’s low-fee childcare program was launched in 1997. The trends in unpaid childcare and paid employment from 1998 to 2015 in Quebec can help inform the universal childcare program being implemented by the Government of Canada.

Childcare provided by parents, or unpaid childcare, was valued at $284 billion in 2015, or roughly 15% of Canada's gross domestic product.

Women provided two-thirds of the unpaid childcare their children received in 2015.

Across Canada, women spent more time on unpaid childcare and were less likely to be in paid employment compared with men. However, women in Quebec fared better after the province's low-fee childcare program was implemented.

In 2015, women in Quebec tended to spend fewer hours per week providing childcare at home than women at the national level.

Hours of unpaid childcare per week by gender, 2015


Table 1
Hours of unpaid childcare per week by gender, 2015
Table summary
This table displays the results of Hours of unpaid childcare per week by gender Women and Men (appearing as column headers).
Women Men
Quebec 47 32
Canada 52 30

Women in Quebec were also more likely to be in paid employment than women at the national level.

Employment rate by gender, 2015


Table 2
Employment rate by gender, 2015
Table summary
This table displays the results of Employment rate by gender Women and Men (appearing as column headers).
Women Men
Quebec 80% 89%
Canada 75% 86%

The employment rate of women rose faster than that of men, especially for women in Quebec.

The 7-percentage-point difference in the employment rates of women with children in Quebec and women with children in Canada was valued at $2.8 billion in 2015.

Changes in employment rate of individuals with children by gender, 1998 to 2015


Table 3
Changes in employment rate of individuals with children by gender, 1998 to 2015
Table summary
This table displays the results of Changes in employment rate of individuals with children by gender Women and Men (appearing as column headers).
Women Men
Quebec 30% 19%
Canada 23% 17%

Source: Gu, W. 2022. “The value of unpaid childcare and paid employment by gender: What are the impacts of the low-fee universal childcare program?” Economic and Social Reports, 2(7). DOI: https://doi.org/10.25318/36280001202200700003-eng

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