Child Care Now, Canada’s national child care advocacy organization, applauds the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint the Honourable Karina Gould as Minister for Families, Children and Social Development and to make early learning and child care the Minister’s key responsibility.
“Transferring responsibility for housing from the Minister for Families, Children and Social Development to the new position of Minister of Housing means that Ms. Gould will be able to focus on the critical job of building a Canada-wide system of early learning and child care,” said Executive Director Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Now.
The shift in ministerial responsibilities and the appointment of a skilled and experienced senior Minister to the portfolio is yet another signal that the Liberal government understands the central role child care can play in Canada’s economic recovery, and how a quality system will contribute to the wellbeing and development of children, as well as the economic security of families and parents, particularly mothers.
“Child care advocates look forward to working with Ms. Gould who has consistently demonstrated her support for making high quality regulated child care programs accessible, affordable, and inclusive of all children across the country,” said Ballantyne. “She knows first-hand the child care challenges that mothers of young children must contend with and is already well-versed on the policy options for moving forward.”
Ballantyne said she hopes the Minister’s mandate will include as priorities:
- Reaching child care funding agreements with the governments of Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, Nunavut and NWT—the jurisdictions that have not yet agreed to be part of a Canada-wide system of early learning and child care;
- Ensuring that the terms of the federal child care agreements are implemented over the next five years;
- Ensuring that the supply of high-quality early learning and child care at $10 a day is increased through the expansion of public and non-profit child care, and that the Canada-wide system of early learning and child care is built to ensure equitable access;
- Working to put in place a coordinated and supported early learning and child care strategy that includes raising the wages and improving the working conditions of the workforce to ensure better recruitment and retention of staff so as to support the big expansion of high quality regulated child care required to bring about universal access to affordable child care;
- Working with Indigenous organizations and communities to implement the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework;
- Introducing federal child care legislation modeled on the Canada Health Act;
- Putting in place the high-level federal secretariat on early learning and child care first promised in the 2019 federal election. The secretariat is necessary to support implementation of the federal-provincial/territorial agreements and ensure that timelines and expansion, quality and affordability targets are met;
- Putting in place the Federal Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care;
- Working with child care advocates and the child care sector to ensure that our common goals and aspirations for a Canada-wide system of excellent, inclusive, accessible, affordable early learning and child care is fully realized.