Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Budget 2021 is the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that is inclusive of all Canadians.
Today, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, met with members of the Tundra Buddies Daycare Society to discuss early learning and child care investments from Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience.
The COVID-19 recession is the steepest and fastest economic contraction since the Great Depression. It has disproportionately affected low-wage workers, young people, women, and racialized Canadians. For businesses, it has been a two-speed recession, with some finding ways to prosper and grow, but many businesses-especially small businesses-fighting to survive. Budget 2021 is an historic investment to address the specific wounds of the COVID-19 recession, put people first, create jobs, grow the middle class, set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada’s future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous.
The pandemic has made access to early learning and child care a universal issue that is resonating across sectors, regions, and income brackets. School and child care centre closures have been difficult for parents. Some have had to leave their jobs, or reduce their hours significantly. Without access to child care, parents cannot fully participate in our economy.
Investing in early learning and child care offers a jobs-and-growth hat trick: it provides jobs for workers, the majority of whom are women; it enables parents, particularly mothers, to reach their full economic potential; and it creates a generation of engaged and well prepared young learners.
The Government of Canada’s top priority remains protecting Canadians’ health and safety, particularly during this third, aggressive wave of the virus and its variants. Vaccine rollout is underway across Canada, with federal government support in every province and territory. Budget 2021 invests in Canada’s bio-manufacturing and life sciences sector to rebuild domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, and has a plan to put in place national standards for long-term care and mental health services.
Budget 2021 is a plan to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the crisis and towards a robust recovery. It proposes to extend business and income support measures through to the fall and to make investments to create jobs and help businesses across the economy come roaring back. It will support almost 500,000 new training and work opportunities including 215,000 opportunities for youth; support businesses in our most affected sectors such as tourism and arts and culture; and accelerate investment and digital transformation at small and medium-sized businesses. Budget 2021 is a plan that puts Canada on track to meet its commitment to create 1 million jobs by the end of the year.
Canada entered the pandemic in a strong fiscal position. This allowed the government to take quick and decisive action, supporting people and businesses, and put it in the position to make historic investments in the recovery.
“Early learning and child care is an economic and a social issue. High-quality child care is fundamental to the future academic success of children and promotes greater gender equity in the labour market. It is an essential piece of social infrastructure just as roads and transit support our economic growth, so too does child care.”
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Budget 2021 includes $101.4 billion over three years in proposed investments as part of the Government of Canada’s growth plan that will create good jobs and support a resilient and inclusive recovery. Key measures include:
- Establishing a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, in partnership with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners, which will help all families access affordable, high-quality, and flexible child care no matter where they live, and no longer shoulder the burden of high child care costs. The budget proposes new investments totaling up to $30 billion over the next five years. Combined with previous investments, a minimum of $9.2 billion per year ongoing will be invested in child care, starting in 2025-26.
- Helping to build, repair, and support 35,000 affordable housing units for vulnerable Canadians through an investment of $2.5 billion and a reallocation of $1.3 billion in existing funding.
- Closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, supporting healthy, safe, and prosperous Indigenous communities, and advancing meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation through an historic investment of over $18 billion.
If women in the rest of Canada participated in the labour force at the same level as Quebec, where low-fee child care has been available since 1997, it would add approximately 240,000 workers to the labour force in today’s terms.
The addition of 240,000 workers in the labour force would drive an increase in real per capita GDP in the long run of as much as 1.2 per cent.