The Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon are working closely together to ensure families have access to affordable, high-quality and safe early learning and child care opportunities and to address new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, and the Yukon Minister of Health and Social Services, Pauline Frost, announced additional support for early learning and child care through a one-year Canada-Yukon Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
The agreement allocates over $2.4 million in 2020-21 for early learning and child care investments in Yukon. In particular, Yukon will invest in professional development training for early childhood educators, bursaries for students studying early childhood education, piloting a rural child care strategy, addressing health and safety needs in licensed child care centres, expanding the Grandparents Grant and Teen Parent Grant programs, and creating spaces for children with disabilities, among other initiatives.
This agreement builds on the commitments made in the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and outlines Yukon’s unique child care needs and priorities, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will ensure that funding continues to be available to support child care programs and services for Yukon families in 2020-21.
In addition, the Government of Canada recently announced $625 million to address the reduced availability of child care and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic across Canada with the Safe Restart Agreement. This year, the Government of Canada will invest nearly $1.2 billion in total in early learning and child care.
“Child care is not a convenience, it is a necessity. High-quality early learning experiences are essential to the development of our children, and the availability of affordable, flexible child care will be key to ensuring Canadian parents can return to work so our economy can recover from this crisis. The Government of Canada is pleased to continue working with the Government of Yukon to ensure that all children and families in Yukon have equal access to the safe, quality early learning and child care they need to succeed.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized how important child care is for the well-being of our families. This agreement with the Government of Canada will help us respond to Yukon’s unique needs and will benefit our economy. I am proud of our continuous work with families, First Nations governments, non-government organizations, the private sector and early childhood educators to provide the best care and education possible to Yukon children.”
-Yukon Minister of Health and Social Services, Pauline Frost
“As we reopen our economy following COVID-19 shutdowns, Yukon families need access to safe, affordable early learning and child care now, more than ever. The Government of Canada is proud to invest in our child care systems to ensure all children get the best possible start in life.”
– Member of Parliament for Yukon, Larry Bagnell
The federal government entered into bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories to provide them with $1.2 billion over three years for early learning and child care programs, starting in 2017-18.
These important investments in early and learning and child care helped to create close to 40,000 more affordable child care spaces nationally prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government is now working with each jurisdiction to negotiate bilateral agreements that will provide a total of $400 million across Canada in 2020-21. Additional funding in 2020-21 will continue to support the early learning and child care sector and will build on this success.
Going forward, the Government of Canada is committed to making a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a pan-Canadian early learning and child care system and to subsidizing before- and after-school care.
The Government of Yukon’s action plan for 2020-21 builds on its work from the past three years and outlines investments in: training for early childhood educators and students; rural child care; child care spaces for children with disabilities; health and safety; and access to child care for teen parents, parents in addictions treatment and grandparents who are primary caregivers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the child care sector. The Government of Yukon is committed to supporting the recovery of the territory’s child care sector and, as recognized in the bilateral agreement, will adjust investments outlined in its action plan based on emerging needs.