Affordable and inclusive early learning and child care is a powerful driver of economic growth and social equality. That’s why the Government of Canada is working with provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples to build an affordable, inclusive and high-quality early learning and child care system for families in Canada. Now, the Government is taking another significant step forward by ensuring the system remains in place long into the future so that generations of children in Canada can get the best possible start in life.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, introduced an Act to respecting early learning and child care in Canada in parliament. If passed, the bill would enshrine the principles of a Canada-wide early learning and child care system into federal law. This bill marks an historic milestone in the Government’s commitment to ensuring families in Canada have enduring access to affordable, inclusive and high-quality early learning and child care. This includes a commitment to maintain long-term federal funding for provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples to support the provision of early learning and child care under a Canada-wide system.
Bill C-35 builds upon the vision and principles of the federal/provincial/territorial Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, as well as the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework that was co‑developed and endorsed by Indigenous leadership and the Government of Canada. If passed, the bill would respect provincial and territorial jurisdiction and Indigenous rights, including the right to self‑determination.
In addition to establishing a permanent, legislated commitment to federal funding for early learning and child care, Bill C-35, if passed, would require the federal government to report to the public on federal investments and progress being made on the Canada-wide system. It would also enshrine in law the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Child Care. The role of this recently announced council is to provide third-party expert advice to the Government of Canada and serve as a forum for engagement on issues and challenges facing the early learning and child care sector.