The Government of Canada believes accessible, inclusive and high quality child care is essential to early childhood development, labour force participation of parents, women's equality, social integration and inclusion of newcomers. Supporting parents, families and communities in their efforts to ensure the best possible future for their children is a priority for the Government of Canada.
The Honourable Jean Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, is happy to announce that all bilateral agreements on early learning and child care with provinces and territories have been signed. The Government worked with each province and territory to enter into three-year bilateral agreements which outline their unique early learning and child care needs to be addressed, including the unique needs of official language minority communities.
This follows a historic agreement, made on June 12, 2017, by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care on a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework.
The Framework sets the foundation for governments to work towards a shared long-term vision where all children across Canada can experience the enriching environment of quality early learning and child care. The bilateral agreements are supported by long-term Government of Canada investments in early learning and child care announced in Budgets 2016 and 2017, totaling $7.5 billion over 11 years.
Supporting middle class families and ensuring that every child gets the best possible start in life is a top priority of the Government of Canada. Take the introduction of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which is helping to lift about 300,000 children out of poverty and helping families invest in the things that give children a good start in life. Starting in July 2018, the CCB will be indexed to keep up with the cost of living.
Initiatives such as investment in early learning and child care and the CCB are part of a larger approach by the Government of Canada to grow the economy and support the middle class and those working hard to join it.
"Families are the foundation of Canada, and children are our most precious resource—investing in them means investing in Canada's future. We know how important it is for children to have a good start in life so that they can succeed. Federal investments in early learning and child care and the Canada Child Benefit will ensure that families receive the support they need. Making sure every family has a fair chance at success is not just the right thing to do—it is the smart thing to do"
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
• Federal Budgets 2016 and 2017 proposed to invest $7.5 billion over 11 years, starting in 2017–18, to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care across the country, particularly for families more in need. Of this investment:
o $95 million will go towards closing data gaps to better understand child care challenges and needs and track progress;
o $100 million will go towards early learning and child care innovation; and
o a portion will be dedicated to strengthening culturally appropriate early learning and child care for Indigenous children.
• Through the bilateral agreements, the Government of Canada will provide provinces and territories with $1.2 billion, over the next three years, for early learning and child care programs. Governments will report annually on progress made in relation to the Framework and bilateral agreements.
• A separate Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework is being co-developed with Indigenous partners to reflect the unique cultures and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families.
• Over 3.3 million families are receiving more than $23 billion in annual CCB payments, helping them to give their children a good start in life. Indexing the CCB for the 2018–19 benefit year will provide an additional $5.6 billion in support to Canadian families over the next five years.