OTTAWA, APRIL 19, 2021 – Child care advocates say the federal budget plan for early learning and child care marks a historic turning point for Canada’s children, parents, women, including those working in child care services, and that it will bring about better, fairer and faster economic recovery.
“The multi-year budget plan will make early learning and child care programs accessible, affordable and inclusive across Canada by using a big boost in federal funds to leverage a reduction in average parent fees to $10 a day within five years,” said Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now, Canada’s national child care advocacy association. “Bringing down parent fees by publicly funding the operation of regulated services is the way to build the universal quality system needed by families in communities in all regions of Canada.”
The budget tabled today answers the call of child care advocates for an immediate jump in federal funding for early learning and child care to $4.1 billion in 2021-22 and goes up from there until it reaches $9.2 billion annually by 2025-26. This amounts to a $30 billion federal investment over 5 years.
Importantly, the budget says expansion of the system will be in the not-for-profit sector, and that the federal government’s commitment to a Canada-wide system of early learning and child care will be enshrined in federal legislation to be tabled this fall. Additionally, Budget 2021 confirms promised new investments for Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care and provides $29.2 million over the next two years to improve physical accessibility to licensed child care centres across Canada.
Ballantyne said the plan is ambitious but also sensible because it recognizes the importance of forging collaboration with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners.
“The federal government is offering to pay a major portion of the cost of building an early learning and child care system, to use the money effectively and in accordance with what we know about how to improve quality, accessibility and affordability, and to stick with the project over the long-term by increasing investments each year,” she said. “And, we will finally get the federal early learning and child care legislation first proposed fifty years ago.”
“Provincial and territorial governments will be hard pressed to turn away especially given that each has stated repeatedly through the pandemic that child care is essential to their own economies,” she said.
Canada’s provincial child care advocacy groups echoed that sentiment, calling on their respective Premiers to join with the federal government to address the child care crisis made much worse by the pandemic.
“We are thrilled with the federal budget because it means British Columbia will have support to accelerate our popular $10 a day child care plan – lower parent fees, raise educator wages and create more public spaces,” said Sharon Gregson, spokesperson for BC’s $10aDay Child Care Campaign.
“Ontario’s fragile child care sector barely survived the first and second waves of COVID-19 and we are experiencing more closures in the third wave,” said Carolyn Ferns, Policy Coordinator of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. “It is imperative that the Ontario government seize the opportunity of the federal commitments announced today to collaborate on building the system Ontario needs.”
For more information, contact:
Child Care Now
BC’s $10aDay Child Care Campaign
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care