SASKATOON -- Saskatchewan plans to reach an agreement with the federal government on child care funding this week.
“It’s my expectation and I'm hopeful that we'll have an agreement by the end of this week,” Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan told CTV News.
In the 2021 federal budget, announced in April, the Trudeau Liberals pledged nearly $30 billion, over five years, to reduce child care costs.
Duncan says Saskatchewan’s slice of the pie is about $1 billion over five years.
The money aims to offset daycare and preschooler fees by about 50 per cent next year.
Eventually, the Liberals aim to have an average fee of $10 a day across the country — outside of Quebec, which has its own system.
Sue Delanoy, an advocate with Child Care Now Saskatchewan, says she’s “anxious” to get the deal ahead of a federal election.
“I’m a little worried that the child care agreement hasn’t been signed at this time,” Delanoy says.
“It’s just a benefit to Saskatchewan children and families. So let's just get this signed, let's get it done.”
B.C. and Nova Scotia have already signed onto the deal.
Saskatchewan blames the federal government for delayed negotiations.
Duncan says the ministry received the “term sheet” about the child care agreement on July 8 — the day B.C. finished its deal.
“It’s not like we haven't been negotiating with the federal government. We have been. They've really dictated the timelines,” Duncan says.
“I would just disagree with the characterization that we we waited to negotiate, that's not the case.”
CTV News has reached out to the Liberal government for comment.
Duncan says the deal is designed for Saskatchewan, and will give families “affordability and inclusivity” of child care.