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Government of Canada, Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Métis National Council announce the first Indigenous early learning and child care framework

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Government of Canada
Press release
Publication Date: 
16 Sep 2018


GATINEAU, QC, Sept. 17, 2018 /CNW/ - Children hold a sacred place in the cultures of Indigenous peoples and with that comes a sacred responsibility to care for them. The Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council and the Government of Canada are working together to improve early learning and child care for Indigenous children by jointly releasing a co-developed Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

The Framework reflects the unique cultures, aspirations and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children across Canada. It captures the views and recommendations of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council and is based on the advice of the many Indigenous peoples and organizations that participated in extensive engagement in 2017.

In support of the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework, the Government of Canada is committing up to $1.7 billion over 10 years to strengthen early learning and child care programs and services for Indigenous children and families starting in 2018–19. This is part of the commitment of $7.5 billion over 11 years the Government has made to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care across the country in Budget 2016.


"The Government of Canada believes that all Canadian children deserve a fair chance at success. Today's announcement is great news for the creation of a culturally appropriate approach to early learning and child care that provides Indigenous children in Canada with a solid foundation for future success." 
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

"Supporting early learning and child care is an investment that has significant and life-long benefits for Indigenous children, their families, and entire communities. As Minister of Indigenous Services, I am thrilled to take part in the launch of this co-developed Framework, and I look forward to the work ahead in supporting First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples in implementing their vision for their children and communities."
– The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services

"Our government is committed to growing the middle class by providing greater support to Canadian families. We are doing this with a strengthened Canada Child Benefit; the creation of 40,000 new affordable, high-quality childcare spaces, and the introduction of a Parental Sharing Benefit to encourage a more equitable distribution of childcare in the home. The Indigenous Early Learning and Childcare Framework, another important piece of this plan, empowers Indigenous women by increasing their participation in the workforce and improving the working conditions of early childhood educators. Indigenous women are talented and resilient, and this Framework will help strengthen their financial security, benefitting them, their children and Canada's economy as a whole."
– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women

"I am pleased to support Indigenous children and their families through culturally appropriate early learning programs that promote health and access to social services with the goal of helping them reach their full potential. Under the Framework, the Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities program will continue to support healthy child development through community based projects for Indigenous children living off reserve across Canada."
– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

"Access to high-quality, appropriate and culturally-rooted early learning and child care is a fundamental component in achieving social equity and improving socio-economic outcomes for Inuit in Canada. Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami has been proud to provide Inuit-specific guidance to the Framework and looks forward to continued collaboration on ensuring the vision it sets out is realized for Inuit children and families across Canada."
– Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

"The IELCC Framework with the Métis Nation Early Learning and Child Care will bring unprecedented change to our families' futures. This is a major investment in the lives of our Nation providing solid foundations for building strong and healthy children and families. Today's announcement marks another practical milestone along the path of reconciliation negotiated by the Métis Nation and Prime Minister Trudeau's government."
– David Chartrand, Vice President of the Métis National Council

Quick Facts

  • This co-developed Framework is transformative – it sets out a shared vision, principles and a path forward for Indigenous early learning and child care. This Framework also provides a guide for communities, program administrators, service providers, policy makers and governments to work in partnership towards achieving a shared vision that all Indigenous children have the opportunity to experience high-quality, culturally strong early learning and child care.
  • Supporting early child development can have long-term benefits that can extend throughout children's lives. Research shows that there are positive relationships between quality early learning and child care, parental labour market participation and child development outcomes.
  • The Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework establishes overarching principles and sets a vision for:
  1. happy and safe Indigenous children and families;
  2. strong cultural identity; and
  3. a comprehensive and coordinated system led by Indigenous peoples with accessible, flexible and fully inclusive early learning and child care for all Indigenous children, families and communities regardless of where they live. 
  • The Government and Indigenous partners have undertaken a comprehensive engagement process on Indigenous early learning and child care. Throughout 2017, over 100 engagement activities were conducted across the country by Indigenous organizations and the Government of Canada, reaching over 3,000 participants through town halls, regional and national meetings, and online surveys.
  • The Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework is supportive of and consistent with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • The Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework complements the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, released by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care in June 2017.* The Multilateral 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.

*While the Government of Québec supports the general principles of the Early Learning and Child Care Framework, it does not adhere to the Framework as it intends to preserve its sole responsibility in this area on its territory. The Government of Québec expects to receive its share of the federal funding and will continue to invest significantly toward programs and services for families and children.