Bill C-35, an Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada, as amended by the Senate of Canada, was adopted unanimously on February 29, 2024 by the House of Commons. This landmark legislation affirms in law the Government of Canada’s commitment to build a primarily not-for-profit and public system of early learning and child care that provides accessible, inclusive and  low-fee child care services for all in Canada. The passage of the legislation is a significant victory for child care advocates who have been calling for a federal child care law as recommended more than 50 years ago by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. 

“Too many families across Canada face insurmountable challenges in accessing affordable high quality and inclusive early learning and child care services,” said Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director for Child Care Now. 

“Bill C-35 sets out a framework, and a federal commitment, to bring about transformative change in how child care services are funded and delivered but bringing about that change will require child care advocates and others pushing all levels of government to fund services adequately and bring about major policy reform,” Ballantyne added. 

The passage of Bill C-35 is the result of decades of tireless campaigning by child care advocates, educators, parents, and policymakers. 

The Act sets out the federal government’s commitment to long-term funding for the provinces and Indigenous peoples for the establishment and maintenance of a community-based early learning and child care system. The legislation also requires that a National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care be established to provide the federal government advice on all matters related to early learning and child care.

“The work of child care advocates will continue as we monitor and report on progress, address challenges, and hold governments accountable so as to ensure that the promise of Bill C-35 becomes a reality for every child and family in Canada,” Ballantyne said.