Mr. Speaker, in 1998, the OECD invited Canada, along with a number of other countries, to participate in the first round of reviews under the thematic review of early childhood education and care policy. At that time, the invitation was declined. At a June 2001 conference in Stockholm, the OECD disseminated its comparative report “Starting Strong” highlighting the findings from their first round of reviews. Following this conference, participating Canadian officials representing Human Resources Development Canada, HRDC, Council of Ministers of Education of Canada, CMEC, and Saskatchewan Department of Education recommended that Canada participate in the second round of reviews, based on their shared commitment to children’s issues, including early childhood development. For reviews of this kind, the OECD requests that the host country identify a manageable number of jurisdictions to participate. CMEC approached the provincial-territorial deputy ministers of education and the P.E.I. deputy minister responsible for social services approached all provincial-territorial deputy ministers responsible for social services to determine interest in participating in the review. The Governments of Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba indicated an interest in participating. Remaining provincial-territorial jurisdictions did not wish to be included in the review, but were kept informed on Canada’s participation throughout the review. Those jurisdictions who chose not to participate should be contacted directly for further information on their decision.
The Government of Canada, through HRDC, now Social Development Canada, funded the review at a total cost of $90,896 which covered the cost of the preparation of a background report to support the review, a visit to Canada by the international review team of early childhood education experts and the preparation of the final report by the OECD. The resulting final report “Early Childhood Education and Care Policy Canada” was released publicly on October 25, 2004. Elements of the international review team’s findings on Canada’s ECEC system will be integrated into a broader comparative report by the OECD. The report will include an overview of the countries participating in the second round of the thematic review of early childhood education and care policy as well as updates on those countries who participated in the first round.