In the recent federal budget, the Government of Canada laid out a transformative plan to build a Canada-wide, community-based system of quality early learning and child care that provides parents in Canada with, on average, $10 a day regulated child care spaces for children under age six. This plan will make life more affordable for families, create new jobs, get parents-especially mothers-back into the workforce, and grow the middle class, while giving every child the best possible start in life.
Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, was at the Simon Fraser University Childcare Society, in Burnaby, to meet with children, parents and early learning and child care educators. Earlier in the day, the Deputy Prime Minister attended a meeting at the Surrey Board of Trade with local business leaders. Discussions at both events focused on the importance of investing in early learning and child care in order to spur strong, long-term economic growth, strengthen the workforce, and support families.
The Government of Canada’s recent historic agreement with the Government of British Columbia and the investment of $3.2 billion over the next five years will help improve regulated early learning and child care for children under six years of age in B.C. The governments of Canada and British Columbia will work together to improve access to quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services. The governments will work together towards achieving an average parent fee of $10 per day for all regulated child care spaces for children under six by the end of the five-year agreement. By the end of 2022, British Columbians will see a 50 per cent reduction in average parent fees for children under the age of six in regulated child care.
As part of their agreement, the federal and provincial government are working to support early childhood educators, including through the development of a wage grid that will make sure the work done by these educators-many of whom are women-is valued for the important work it is.
The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners across the country to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system that allows parents, especially mothers, the opportunity to get back into the workforce, and offers every child in Canada the best start in life.
“During my discussions today, I heard first-hand about the positive impact expanding access to high-quality, affordable early learning and child care will have on this community. They have advocated, for years, for investments in early learning and child care and its importance as essential social infrastructure needed for resilient economic growth. This historic investment is feminist economic policy, and smart economic policy, will make life more affordable for young families across B.C., and help our country reach its full potential.”
– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“Access to child care gives parents-especially mothers-the opportunity to fully participate in the workforce and support our economy. Making quality child care more accessible and affordable is not only about making life better for parents and children-it’s about doing the right thing to make our society more equal.”
– The Honourable Katrina Chen, B.C.’s Minister of State for Child Care
This agreement will lead to the creation of 30,000 new regulated early learning and child care spaces for children under the age of six within five years, and 40,000 spaces within seven years. These spaces will be focused on community investments that are long-term and run by public and non-profit institutions.
The governments of Canada and British Columbia will create an Implementation Committee that will monitor progress on child care commitments in consultation with stakeholders. The Government of Canada will be represented on this committee by the Federal Secretariat on Early Learning and Child Care.
Budget 2021 provides new investments to build a high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care system across Canada. These investments total up to $30 billion over the next five years, and combined with previous investments announced since 2015, $9.2 billion every year, permanently.
Through previous investments in early learning and child care, the Government of Canada helped to create over 40,000 more affordable child care spaces across the country prior to the pandemic, including nearly 2,800 in British Columbia.
In addition to these investments, the Government of Canada is directly supporting parents, no matter how they choose to care for their children, through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
- For over five years, the CCB has provided almost $25 billion in tax-free support per year to about 3.5 million families, and is now providing families with $350 more per child than when the program began.
- In May 2021, the government began providing additional temporary support for families with children under the age of six through the CCB young child supplement. This helps Canadian families who are struggling with a range of unpredictable expenses during the pandemic, including temporary child care arrangements.
Investments in child care will benefit all Canadians. Studies show that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, the broader economy receives between $1.50 and $2.80 in return.