The Politics of Family Policies: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Ontario’s Early Learning and Childcare Policy 2017-2020
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Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party since 2013, released the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework in 2017 to encourage the delivery of early learning and child careservices on the principles of high quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity across Canada (Japel& Friendly, 2018). Following the Framework, the Federal Government of Canada signed 13 bilateral agreements with provinces and territories to financially support each of theirearly learning and child careservices (Japel & Friendly, 2018).Inactions are just as relevant to public policy decisions as are actions while the former retains the status quo the latter brings change (Bryant, 2015). Therefore, it was important to discuss whether Ontario’s Bilateral Agreement is an act of inaction or action in the realm of family policies, specifically early learning and child care. Ideas and institutions were the key factors in this paper’sanalysis of understanding policy change (Beland, 2005). Ideas and institutions are important to consider because former enacted policies and formal political institutions affect policy reform and policy change. To do this, the paper involves a political economy analysis, through Critical Discourse Analysis, guided by the Discursive Institutionalism framework, to assess whether Ontario’s Agreement contributes to the expansion or shrinkage of the provinces’ early learning and child caresystem. The policy analysis wassummarized into key findings, followed with its interpretation, and final concludes with recommendations.