Federal parliament building

The federal government’s proposed early learning and child care legislation, which was introduced last December, passed second reading unanimously on February 1, 2023, and has been referred for review by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA).

The federal bill enshrines in law the Government of Canada’s commitment to fund the development of provincial and territorial systems of early learning and child care that provide high quality, inclusive, affordable, and accessible early childhood education and care programs for young children everywhere in Canada. 

Federal Minister of Children, Families, and Social Development Karina Gould told the House of Commons that the Bill will provide support for the continued implementation of an affordable Canada-wide system by enshrining the vision, guiding principles, and a commitment to long-term funding.

The federal legislation also establishes, in law, a National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care to provide advice to the Minister on all aspects of early learning and child care. 

Child Care Now will be following the review of the Bill by HUMA and will be proposing amendments to strengthen the accountability provisions in the proposed law.

“The proposed law says the Government of Canada will fund the establishment and maintenance of high quality early learning and child care services primarily through agreements with the provinces, but the only mechanism to measure progress and understand how public money is being spent is an annual report by the Minister,” said Morna Ballantyne, Child Care Now Executive Director.