Every child deserves the best possible start in life, and all parents should have the ability to build both a family and career. Yet, too many families across Canada lack access to affordable, inclusive, and high-quality child care. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also made it clear that without access to child care, too many parents—especially women—cannot fully participate in the workforce.
August 9, 2021 Winnipeg, Manitoba Employment and Social Development CanadaEvery child deserves the best possible start in life, and all parents should have the ability to build both a family and career. Yet, too many families across Canada lack access to affordable, inclusive, and high-quality child care. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also made it clear that without access to child care, too many parents—especially women—cannot fully participate in the workforce.
That is why the Government of Canada has laid out a plan to provide parents in Canada with, on average, $10 a day regulated child care spaces for children under age six by 2025-26. This plan to build a Canada-wide, community-based early learning and child care system will make life more affordable for families, create new jobs, get parents—especially women—back into the workforce, and grow the middle class, while giving every child a real and fair chance at success.
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Rochelle Squires, Manitoba’s Minister of Families, today announced an agreement that will support an average of $10 a day for regulated child care spaces in the province in 2023, significantly reducing the price of child care for families. By the end of 2022, Manitoba families will see a 50 per cent reduction in average parent fees for children up to six years old in regulated child care. This agreement will also lead to the creation 23,000 new full-time regulated care spaces by the end of fiscal year 2025–2026 to ensure all families of children up to six years old can access child care. The province will create these new child care spaces in not-for-profit, public child care providers/operations, as well as in family-based child care.
The federal funding of more than $1.2 billion over the next five years will also fund critical services, and grow a strong and skilled workforce of early childhood educators, including through the creation of a wage grid to support the attraction and retentions of early childhood educators. This agreement will also lead to the creation of 1,700 extended hour child care spaces for families requiring child care in the evening and on weekends as well as guaranteed child care spaces for children whose parents are transitioning into regular employment. The agreement will also support an early learning and child care system that is fully inclusive of children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports, and ensure all families have equitable access to high-quality, affordable programming.
Manitoba will prioritize inclusivity, ensuring that families have access to integrated and culturally responsive services. This plan will ensure vulnerable communities – including children with disabilities and children needing enhanced or individual supports, Indigenous children , Black and other racialized children – have equitable access to regulated child care. This will be developed in collaboration with relevant First Nations and Metis Nation organizations in the province. Funding through the agreement will also support the strengthening of the early learning and child care workforce by modernizing certification requirements and implementing a wage floor for different positions and classifications.
Since 2015, the government has been helping make life more affordable for families. This includes programs like the Canada Child Benefit, which was indexed again in July 2021 to help families keep up with the costs of living and raising their children.
The time for a Canada-wide early learning and child care system is now. The Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners across the country to make life easier and more affordable for families, grow the middle class, create jobs, help parents—especially mothers—return to the workforce, and give children across the country an equal chance to succeed.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life. Our vision for early learning and child care is big and ambitious, but if we tell our own kids to dream big, we need to lead by example. Today’s historic agreement with Manitoba is another important step on the path to ensuring all families have access to high-quality, affordable, and inclusive child care.”
–The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“Manitoba negotiated an Early Learning and Child Care Agreement focused on the specific needs and circumstances of Manitoba working families. It builds on our own government’s increased investments for more spaces and better access by low-income families to needed child care. This historic new agreement will lead to 23,000 more child care spaces in our province. I am particularly pleased it will benefit women in the work force.”
– The Honourable Rochelle Squires, Manitoba Minister of Families
“Ensuring that all Canadians, especially mothers, have access to high-quality and affordable early learning and child care is a strong economic policy. It creates both good middle-class jobs and long-term economic growth, by increasing the participation of women in the workforce, and ensuring that early childhood educators receive the compensation they deserve for their essential work. It also gives our children the best possible start in life. Today’s agreement with Manitoba brings us one step closer to achieving a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system that will jumpstart the Canadian economy in the wake of the COVID recession.”
– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“Manitoba families deserve affordable, accessible childcare. With the announcement of 23,000 new childcare spaces by March 2026, Manitoba families will be provided with better access to childcare to those who need it most.”
–The Honourable Scott Fielding, Manitoba Minister of Finance
By the end of March 2026, Manitoba will create 23,000 new full-time regulated care spaces to ensure all families of children up to six years old can access child care.
The governments of Canada and Manitoba will create an Implementation Committee that will monitor progress on early learning and child care commitments in consultation with stakeholders. The Government of Canada will be represented on this committee by the Federal Secretariat on Early Learning and Child Care.
Budget 2021 provides new investments to build a high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care system across Canada. These investments total up to $30 billion over the next five years, and combined with previous investments announced since 2015, $9.2 billion every year thereafter, permanently.
Through previous investments in early learning and child care, the Government of Canada helped to create over 40,000 more affordable child care spaces across the country prior to the pandemic, including over 700 in Manitoba.
In addition to these investments, the Government of Canada is directly supporting parents, no matter how they choose to care for their children, through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).
For over five years, the CCB has provided about $25 billion in tax-free support per year to about 3.5 million families, and is now providing families with over $350 more per child than when the program began.
In 2021, the government is providing additional temporary support for families with children under the age of six through the CCB young child supplement. This helps Canadian families who are struggling with a range of unpredictable expenses during the pandemic, including temporary child care arrangements.
Investments in early learning and child care will benefit all Canadians. Studies show that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, the broader economy receives between $1.50 and $2.80 in return.
To promote greater gender equality at home and in the workplace, the Government of Canada has also introduced the Parental Sharing Benefit. This new measure provides an additional five weeks of Employment Insurance parental benefits when parents – including adoptive and same-sex parents – agree to share parental benefits.
Earlier this year, the Manitoba government committed up to $1.9 million to support and protect families and early learning and child-care facilities affected by the move to remote learning in Winnipeg and Brandon as part of the province’s public health measures. Manitoba also announced nearly $4.4 million for a COVID-19 Response Block Grant to support 230 regulated, non-profit early learning and child-care facilities impacted by COVID-19 in partnership with the Government of Canada.