VANCOUVER, Feb. 23, 2018 /CNW/ - The governments of Canada and British Columbia are making significant investments in early learning and child care systems to improve children's continuous development and support them in reaching their full potential.
Today, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced an early learning and child care bilateral agreement with the Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development for British Columbia and the Honourable Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care.
The agreement allocates $153 million, over three years, to:
- create of 1370 new infant/toddler child care spaces through capital grants;
- provide operational funding to care providers to administer low-cost infant/toddler spaces and reduce parent fees for at least 1786 children;
- apply new streams of bursaries and grants to recruit and retain early childhood educators and support up to 4000 current and future educators in obtaining or upgrading their Early Childhood Educator certification;
- direct new funds into the existing systems to expand culturally-based Indigenous child care to create on- and off-reserve programming, 390 new spaces, and benefit approximately 590 families; and
- enhance inclusive programs for approximately 7278 children with special needs
This announcement 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.
By taking care of our children today, we're growing and strengthening the middle class for years to come. The bilateral agreement is 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, and is another step to help ensure that British Columbia's children get the best start in life.
"Across Canada, raising a family can be costly. That is no different in British Columbia. Our government is committed to helping alleviate that burden on Canadian families. The early learning and child care bilateral agreement signed today will further enable collaborative effort to help parents make ends meet and give all children a fair and equal chance to succeed."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
"Today's agreement between Canada and British Columbia is a big step towards ensuring that our children get the best start in life, and in delivering better child care for British Columbia families."
– Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
"We are committed to making life more affordable for B.C. families. We know if we're to deliver on this commitment, we need strong backing from our federal partners. This funding offers much-needed support as we begin to implement universal child care in B.C."
– The Honourable John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
"Introducing universal child care is going to be one of the most significant policy changes in B.C. history. Improving the system is going to take significant resources and require partnerships like this one with the federal government in order to be successful. The early years play a key role in a child's development, and this federal investment will allow us to better support children, parents and those who work in early childhood education so that B.C. families can access high-quality care, wherever they are in the province."
– The Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development for British Columbia
"The B.C. government believes that every parent deserves to be able to access quality and affordable care for their child. Families across the province will benefit from our partnership with the federal government. This funding, along with our own investments in child care, will allow us to make child care more accessible for low-income families and provide focused funding in areas of need, including more Indigenous and inclusive child-care spaces."
– The Honourable Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care
- 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 in need. Of this investment:
- $95 million will go towards closing data gaps to better understand child care challenges and needs and track progress;
- $100 million will go towards early learning and child care innovation; and
- a portion will be dedicated to strengthening culturally appropriate early learning and child care for Indigenous children.
- The federal government is working with each province and territory to enter into three-year bilateral agreements that will address the early learning and child care needs unique to its jurisdiction and funding allocation. Bilateral agreements with eight other provinces and territories have been announced: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Yukon.
- 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.
- In addition, a separate Indigenous Framework on Early Learning and Child Care is being co-developed with Indigenous partners to reflect the unique cultures and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families.
- The British Columbia action plan identifies key priority areas for investment, over three years, aligning with the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework. They are:
- addresses shortages of licensed child care spaces;
- fee reductions for parents;
- quality enhancements to licensed child care programs;
- extra support and services for underserved communities; and
- inclusive, alternative care options for children with special needs.
CANADA–BRITISH COLUMBIA EARLY LEARNING AND CHILD CARE AGREEMENT
On June 12, 2017, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care signed a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework. This is a significant milestone in which governments agree to work together to address some of the key early learning and child care issues across the country.
Governments will work towards achieving the shared long-term vision of the Framework where all children across Canada can experience the enriching environment of quality early learning and child care. They have committed to increasing the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity of early learning and child care with consideration for families that need child care the most.
The implementation of this framework, and a separate Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework to be co-developed with Indigenous peoples, is supported by federal investments announced in Budgets 2016 and 2017 totalling $7.5 billion over 11 years. Through bilateral agreements, the Government of Canada will provide provinces and territories with $1.2 billion over three years to address unique early learning and child care needs and allocate funding for each jurisdiction.
The governments of Canada and British Columbia have signed an early learning and child care bilateral agreement. Through this bilateral agreement, the Government of British Columbia will receive $153 million, over three years. British Columbia is committed to ensuring that children—from birth to the time they start school—and their families have increased access to comprehensive, integrated and culturally responsive early childhood development programs, resources and supports for healthy early childhood development and improved outcomes for all children.
By the end of the three-year agreement, this funding will:
- create an estimated 1,370 licensed infant/toddler child-care spaces across the province in areas of highest need. This will help support communities address their specific child care and early learning needs and will help parents access infant/toddler care—the most in-demand type of child care in British Columbia;
- provide to at least 1,786 children across the province access to low-cost infant/toddler spaces over two years, which will help decrease the financial burden for families who pay the highest cost for child care in British Columbia;
- support up to 4,000 future and current early childhood educators in earning or upgrading their certification as well accessing training opportunities;
- provide approximately 590 families, living both on and off reserve, with access to culturally based Indigenous child care
- support approximately 1,428 additional children with developmental delays or disabilities accessing extra support needs to enable them to participate in a child care setting; and
- Increase funding for the Young Parent Program by 63 percent to ensure its ongoing sustainability in providing access to no-fee child care for young parents completing their secondary-school education.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: Émilie Gauduchon-Campbell, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 819-654-5546; Kirsten Lauvaas, Communications Manager, Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Children and Family Development, 250 356-1553; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]