Canadian Government signals rest of Commonwealth on value of ECEC with new plan
The Canadian Government used its recently announced Federal Budget to highlight the value of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the lives of children with a transformative plan to build a Canada-wide, community-based system of quality early learning and childcare.
Within the Budget the Government committed to working with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to put a system in place beginning with British Columbia to make this plan a reality in Canada.
“The time for a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system is now. Too many families in Canada lack access to affordable, inclusive, and high-quality childcare. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also made it clear that without access to childcare, parents – especially women – cannot fully participate in the economy,” a spokesperson said.
“By building a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system, the Government of Canada will make life more affordable for Canadian families and increase women’s participation in the workforce, while creating new jobs and driving strong economic growth as we recover from the pandemic.”
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, announced an agreement late last week that will significantly improve early learning and childcare for children in the province. As part of this agreement, the Government of Canada will invest $3.2 billion over the next five years to help improve regulated early learning and childcare for children under 6 years of age in British Columbia.
Under this agreement, the governments of Canada and British Columbia will work together to improve access to quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and childcare programs and services. British Columbia and Canada agreed on the goal of $10 a day childcare, and will work together towards achieving an average parent fee of $10 per day for all regulated childcare spaces for children under six years of age 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 childcare.
This agreement will lead to the creation of 30,000 new regulated early learning and childcare 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 agreement will fund critical services and support early childhood educators, including through the development of a wage grid.
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 childcare 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.
“Too many parents across the country are struggling to find affordable, high-quality childcare,” the Prime Minister said.
“This agreement with British Columbia is a big step forward in establishing Canada-wide childcare that will make life more affordable for families, get women back into the workforce, and drive economic growth, while giving every child in Canada, no matter where they live, the chance to achieve their potential.”
In addition to the federal contribution, the Province of British Columbia will invest more than $2.5 billion over the next three years in early learning and childcare. This builds on $2 billion invested by the Province through Childcare BC since 2018.
To review the Canadian Budget in full please see here.