Every child deserves the best possible start in life, and all parents should have the ability to build both a family and career. Yet, too many families across Canada lack access to affordable, inclusive, and high-quality child care. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also made it clear that without access to child care, too many parents – especially women – cannot fully participate in the workforce.
That is why the Government of Canada has laid out a plan to provide parents in Canada with, on average, $10 a day regulated child care spaces for children under age six by 2025-26. This plan to build a Canada-wide, community-based early learning and child care system will make life more affordable for families, create new jobs, get parents – especially women – back into the workforce, and grow the middle class, while giving every child a real and fair chance at success.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Andrew Furey, today announced an agreement that will support an average parent fee of $10 a day for regulated child care spaces in the province in 2023, significantly reducing the price of child care for families. The agreement will also support critical services, including new infant, toddler, and preschool spaces and a new full day, year-round pre-kindergarten ELCC program for four-year-old children in 2023, with the goal that every one of these children in the province has access to pre-kindergarten by 2025-26, no matter where they live. The pre-kindergarten program will be regulated and operated as a not-for-profit service. In addition, the agreement will grow a strong and skilled workforce of early childhood educators, including through the creation of a wage grid and greater opportunities for professional development.
Through the agreement, the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador will work together to improve access to quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services. This includes creating 5,895 new regulated early learning and child care spaces within five years to ensure all families of children under age six can access child care. The federal funding of over $347 million over the next five years also includes a one time investment of nearly $6.5 million in 2021‑22 to support the early childhood workforce as well as over $34 million for the 2021‑22 to 2024‑25 Canada–Newfoundland ELCC Extension Agreement.
With this funding, Newfoundland and Labrador will see a reduction in average parent fees for children under the age of six in regulated child care from $25 a day to $15 a day in 2022, with further reduction to an average of $10 a day in 2023. It will expand not-for-profit and public delivery of early learning and child care. The agreement will also support a child care system that is inclusive of children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports.
Since 2015, the government has been helping make life more affordable for families. This includes programs like the Canada Child Benefit, which was annually increased again last week to help families keep up with the costs of living and raising their children. The time for a Canada-wide early learning and child care system is now. The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners across the country to make life easier and more affordable for families, grow the middle class, create jobs, help parents – especially mothers – return to the workforce, and give children across the country an equal chance to succeed.