GATINEAU, QC, March 24, 2021 /CNW/ - Child care is not a luxury, it's a necessity. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the real social and economic challenges faced by Saskatchewanian families, particularly with children staying home and parents being unable to return to the workforce.
That's why the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan are working together to ensure families have access to the affordable, high-quality and safe early learning and child care opportunities their children need to succeed.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, and the Honourable Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan's Minister of Education, announced additional support for early learning and child care through the one-year Canada-Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
The agreement allocates approximately $13.6 million in federal funding in 2020–21 for early learning and child care investments in Saskatchewan. Specifically, Saskatchewan will invest in continuing to support access to licensed early learning and child care, creating early learning opportunities for children experiencing disability, supporting Francophone early learning and child care, and training opportunities for educators and staff.
This agreement builds on the shared commitments made in the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and outlines Saskatchewan's unique child care needs and priorities, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will ensure funding continues to be available to support child care programs and services for Saskatchewan families in 2020–21.
In addition, the Government of Canada announced $625 million to address the reduced availability of child care and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic across Canada through the Safe Restart Agreement. The Government of Canada will have invested nearly $1.2 billion to support child care in 2020–21.
"Every child deserves the best possible start in life. High-quality, accessible and inclusive early learning experiences are essential to the intellectual, emotional and physical development of our children. Our government is working hard to ensure that all children and families in the province have equal access to the quality early learning and child care they need to succeed."
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen
"Our government remains committed to providing access to early learning and child care, providing programming for preschool aged children with intensive needs and supporting our early childhood educators across the province. This investment and partnership continues to make a difference in the lives of Saskatchewan families by providing high quality programs that support the development of our children."
– Minister of Education of Saskatchewan, Dustin Duncan
The federal government entered into bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories to provide them with $1.2 billion over three years for early learning and child care programs, starting in 2017–18.
These important investments in early learning and child care helped to create just over 40,000 more affordable child care spaces nationally prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government is now working with each jurisdiction to negotiate bilateral agreements that will provide $400 million in 2020–21. This funding will continue to support the early learning and child care sector and will build on this success.
As part of the Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada re-confirmed its commitment to create a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, beginning with a federal secretariat to support this work, new investments to support early childhood educators and continued early learning and child care investments announced in Budgets 2016 and 2017.
Saskatchewan continues to support licensed child care through the Early Childhood Services Grant, Nutrition and Equipment Grants and Early Years Family Resources Centres.
The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to further expanding access to early learning and child care opportunities for children experiencing disability and Francophone children.
In response to the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatchewan has provided additional support to those licensed child care providers supporting workers responding to the pandemic to ensure facilities are able to continue operating and reduce barriers to returning to work.