Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, celebrated the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Canada-Quebec Asymmetrical Agreement on the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Component. This asymmetrical agreement will help fund additional improvements to Quebec's innovative child care system, which is already the most affordable in the country.
Under the agreement with Quebec, the Government of Canada is investing nearly $6 billion over five years to make further improvements to early learning and child care. A significant portion of the funding will address Quebec's stated child care priorities, including creating more than 30,000 subsidized reduced-contribution child care spaces, increasing the number of qualified child care educators and strengthening the current child care network.
Quebec is considered a leader in early learning and child care and has made significant investments in policies and services for families. The agreement allows the Government of Canada to support Quebec families, while recognizing that Quebec must remain in charge of setting priorities for early learning and child care, a responsibility which belongs to it exclusively and for which it has already proven itself.
Building a Canada-wide child care system that works for all families in every region of the country is a key part of the plan to make life more affordable for families, while creating jobs and growing the economy. Nearly all provinces and territories have already seen reductions in child care fees. By the end of 2022, average fees for licensed child care spaces will be cut in half across the country. For governments such as Quebec and the Yukon, which already have an affordable universal child care system in place, investments will support their priorities, including the expansion of child care spaces.
"The leadership shown by Quebec is the prime example of the economic impact of an affordable and well-managed early learning and child care system. It's time for the rest of Canada to follow suit, and we're making great progress across the country."
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
The Canada-Quebec Agreement on the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Component was signed on August 5, 2021.
In response to requests from provinces and territories, and to support the implementation of the Canada-wide early learning and child care system, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $625 million over four years, beginning in 2023–2024, for an Early Learning and Child Care Infrastructure Fund. This funding will enable provinces and territories to make additional child care investments, including the building of new facilities.
As part of Budget 2021, the Government of Canada made a transformative investment of more than $27 billion over five years to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system with the provinces and territories. Combined with other investments, including investments in Indigenous early learning and child care, up to $30 billion will be provided over five years. These investments will support early learning and child care, among other things. Quebec established an early learning and child care system 25 years ago, a system that provides affordable and high-quality child care services to all children, as well as encouraging parents—especially mothers—to participate in the labour market.
In total, the Government of Canada is aiming to create approximately 250,000 new child care spaces through Canada-wide agreements with provinces and territories. These new licensed spaces will be created predominantly among not-for-profit, public and family-based child care providers. The goal of creating 40,000 more affordable child care spaces before 2020 through the 2017–2018 to 2019–2020 early learning and child care agreements has already been achieved.
Investments in early learning and child care will benefit everyone across Canada. Studies show that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, the broader economy receives between $1.50 and $2.80 in return.