Text of the press release:
Learning Minister Deb Higgins today introduced a motion to support the made-in-Saskatchewan early learning and child care system and to draw attention to the Federal Government's decision to phase out the Agreement-in-Principle, which was signed last April with the Government of Canada.
"The motion expresses our government's dissatisfaction with the federal government's announcement to withdraw support to families and cancel early learning and child care agreements with provinces and not fulfil commitments made by the previous federal government, which would have provided $146 million over five years to Saskatchewan families," Higgins said.
Key points of the made-in-Saskatchewan plan developed with early learning and child care partners in the province included:
- Extending pre-kindergarten services to all four-year-olds in the province;
- Adding hundreds of new licensed child care spaces;
- Expanding subsidies; and
- Increased professional development opportunities for early childhood educators.
Higgins noted announcements the province has made to date about early learning and child care will be honoured. These include:
- Wage increases for staff in child care centres;
- Existing grants for child care centres and homes;
- The child care wait list has been eliminated for children with a significant impact of disability;
- The subsidy increase of $20/child/month (on average) announced April 4th, 2005;
- Child Care Saskatchewan's commitment to add 1,200 child care spaces from
2003-2007 is on track; and
- 250 new child care spaces announced April 4th, 2005 will be in place by March 31st, 2006.
"We plan to discuss our early learning and child care agenda with the federal government at every opportunity," Higgins said.