CICD Working Paper 2019-03

The Introduction of Formal Childcare Services in Inuit Communities and Labor Force Outcomes

Donna Feir | CICD Research Economist
Jasmin Thomas | Department of Finance Canada

Published March 27, 2019

We study the impacts of the introduction of formal childcare services to 28 Inuit communities in Canada's North. We use geographical variation in the timing of the introduction of childcare services in the late 1990s and early 2000s to estimate the impact of increased access to childcare. We combine the 1996, 2001, and 2006 long-form census files with data on the opening dates of childcare centres and the number of childcare spaces in each of the 28 communities over time. We find evidence of impacts on female labour force participation driven by multi-adult households in Quebec. Point estimates also suggest possible improvements in high school graduation rates and increased participation of men in childcare. We do not find evidence that formal childcare decreases the ability of children to speak Inuktitut. We suggest plausible explanations for these findings and avenues for future research.

For more work by the CICD on early childhood development, see Healthy Children Healthy Nations Final Report: Charting Pathways on Early Childhood Development and Nutrition for Minnesota’s Native Children.

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