On Friday, the federal government announced $625 million in federal support for the childcare sector to help ensure that safe and sufficient childcare spaces are available during parents’ gradual return to work.
“The availability of affordable, high-quality and flexible childcare will be key to ensuring Canadian parents can return to work and our economy can recover from this crisis. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the childcare sector to ensure all Canadian families will have access to the quality childcare they need,” Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said in a release.
Along with the other agreements under the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, the Government of Canada will invest almost $1.2 billion to support childcare in 2020-2021, a 67 per cent increase over the next highest year in history, 2005-2006, when $700 million were announced.
“The early years of a child’s life are critical to their overall health and well-being. As we begin to safely restart our economy and approach recovery, access to safe and affordable childcare is essential to ensuring Canadian parents are able to return to work, and children are able to return to the enriching environments they need to succeed,” Mona Fortier, the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, added.
The federal government has been working closely with provinces and territories to ensure all families have access to affordable and high quality childcare. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges, including temporary closures and loss of critical revenue from placement fees, which have put the sector at risk.
Funding is allocated to the provinces and territories based on the existing allocation formula used for the Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreements.
The hope is that this investment through the Safe Restart Agreement will help address the key priorities agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six to eight months.