Private commodity or public good?

Early childhood education and care

What does “privatization” in child care mean?

The terms “public” and “private” child care are commonly used to distinguish among the main “auspices” of ownership of regulated child care. There are understood to be three main sectors...

  • Public – Owned and operated by a level of government (including a school board);
  • Private non-profit sector (or semi-private sector) – Owned and operated by an incorporated association or society for the purpose of offering an educational or social service. Non-profit organizations are incorporated under non-profit terms of provincial legislation;
  • Private for-profit sector – Owned and operated by an individual, a partnership, or a small or large company. A for-profit child care company may be a publicly-traded company (“corporate” child care) traded on a stock exchange or a private company. For-profit child care operations are usually incorporated under provincial legislation.

The term privatization can also refer to who pays for child care; in Canada, most of the responsibility for paying for child care is privatized, i.e., it is parents who pay.

Privatization: Transferring ownership of the public sector (government) to the private sector (business)…in a broader sense, privatization refers to transfer of any government function to the private sector… ( Wikipedia)

Why is this important? What is the history of the issue?

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