For too many families, the lack of affordable, high-quality child care means making a difficult choice. Some parents have to sacrifice retirement savings to pay for child care, while others may leave their career because child care is unavailable or unaffordable.
Recognizing the deep connection between child care and the economic security of families, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development was in Toronto today to highlight Budget 2017 investments in early learning and child care that will help Canadian children get the best start in life and support Canadian families who need it most.
To this end, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018–19, to support and create more high-quality, flexible, fully inclusive and affordable child care spaces across the country. A portion of this investment will be dedicated to improving access to culturally appropriate early learning and child care programs for Indigenous children living on and off reserve. Over the next three years, these investments could:
- increase the number of affordable child care spaces for low- and modest-income families by supporting up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces; and
- make it more affordable for parents to return to work, with thousands of parents more likely to enter the labour force once child care is made more affordable.
Of this investment, $95 million will also go towards closing data gaps to better understand what child care looks like in Canada and track progress and $100 million for Early Learning and Child Care Innovation. These investments are in addition to the initial investment of $500 million in Budget 2016 for early learning and child care, including $100 million for Indigenous early learning and child care.
In the coming months, the Government will work in close collaboration with provinces and territories to finalize a federal, provincial and territorial Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child Care. The Framework will focus on best practices and new and innovative approaches to better serve families and help to improve outcomes for children. We will also work with provinces and territories, as well as other key experts, to improve data collection to expand our knowledge and research in early learning and child care. This will ensure better policy and evidence-based decision-making in the future.
Working with Indigenous partners, the Government will also co-develop a distinct Indigenous Framework on Early Learning and Child Care that will reflect the unique cultures and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families across Canada.
“Too many Canadian families are struggling to have access to affordable, high-quality and fully inclusive child care. That is why families are at the centre of our government’s Budget 2017 child care investments. We are providing this money to provinces and territories to help them deliver child care services that will improve the lives of Canadian children and families.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“The YMCA of Greater Toronto believes access to affordable, high-quality licensed child care is instrumental to the early development of young people, regardless of a family’s financial circumstances. As the largest provider of licensed, not-for-profit child care in the GTA, we are pleased the Federal Government is addressing the urgent needs of Canadian families in the Federal budget. At the core of any quality licensed Child Care System is stable and predictable funding coordinated across all orders of Government.”
– Linda Cottes, Senior Vice-President, Child and Family Development, YMCA of Greater Toronto
“Access to high-quality, licensed, accessible and affordable childcare is critical for families. We are pleased to see child care being prioritized in the federal budget, with subsidized spaces being created for low and modest income families.”
– Peter Dinsdale, President and CEO, YMCA Canada
- Only one in four children in Canada has access to regulated child care.
- Intervening early to promote child development from the prenatal period to age six can have long-term benefits that can extend throughout children’s lives.
- Research shows that there are positive relationships between quality early learning and child care, parental labour market participation and child development outcomes. This is particularly true for vulnerable children.
- An 11-percent increase in children aged 0 to 4 between 2006 and 2011 suggests growing demand for child care.
- Of children aged 0 to 5, 24.1 percent have access to regulated early leaning and child care.
Photo from: extension.org