In 2020, Canada embarked on a new approach to early learning and child care. The COVID-19 pandemic's impact on women's employment, families and capacity of child care services to maintain operations stimulated widespread recognition that reliable, affordable, high quality child care is essential not only for families, children and women's equality but also for Canada's economy and future prosperity. The idea that universal access to quality child care is central to our recovery from the pandemic became a key driver for building a Canada-wide early learning and child care system for all.
The 2020 Fall Economic Statement committed to “lay out the plan to provide affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality child care from coast to coast to coast” in the 2021 federal budget. The budget (April 19th 2021) provided a historic financial and policy commitment to early learning and child care. The $30 billion over the next five years and commitment to build a “Canada-wide, community-based system of quality child care” represents the most significant federal financial and policy commitment to child care to date. The budget accompanied the funding commitment with considerations regarding affordability, accessibility, auspice and the child care workforce.
Following the federal budget, the Government of Canada and provinces/territories began to develop agreements to set out how the Canada-wide child care system will be built.
This ISSUE file provides a variety of information pertaining to the federal budget commitments, Canada-wide developments and to each province's/territory's agreement as announcements are made and policy and advocacy tools are developed. Resources for each jurisdiction include government materials, responses and analysis from community and NGOs, media coverage and other relevant tools. An official Government of Canada page hosting the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreements is available.