The pandemic has made access to early learning and child care a universal issue that is resonating across sectors, regions, and income brackets. We know that during this pandemic, school and child care centre closures have been difficult for parents; some have had to leave their jobs or reduce their hours significantly. Without access to child care, parents – especially women, cannot fully participate in our economy. This is an economic issue as much as it is a social issue. We recognize that child care is an essential social infrastructure. Just as roads and transit support our economic growth, so too does child care. The federal government will work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to build this Canada-wide, community-based early learning and child care system.
Budget 2021 proposes to:
- Invest up to $27.2 billion over five years, starting this year as part of initial 5-year agreements.
- Provide $29.2 million over two years to Employment and Social Development Canada through the Enabling Accessibility Fund to support child care centres as they improve their physical accessibility. This funding, which could benefit over 400 child care centres, would support improvements such as the construction of ramps and accessible doors, washrooms, and play structures.
Federal funding would allow for:
- A 50 percent reduction in average fees for regulated early learning and child care in all provinces outside of Quebec, to be delivered before or by the end of 2022.
- An average of $10 a day by 2025-26 for all regulated child care spaces in Canada
- Ongoing annual growth in quality affordable childcare spaces across the country, building on the approximately 40,000 new spaces already created through previous federal investments.
- Meaningful progress in improving and expanding before and after-school care to provide more flexibility for working parents.