Canada-Nunavut Early Learning and Child Care Agreement  2020-2021

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Between:

Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Minister of Employment and Social Development styled as the Minister of Families Children and Social Development (hereinafter referred to as “Canada” or “Government of Canada”)

and

The Government of Nunavut as represented by the Minister of Education (hereinafter referred to as “Nunavut” or “Government of Nunavut”)

And each of Canada and Nunavut are “Party” and collectively are the “Parties”

Preamble

Whereas, Canada and Nunavut agreed to a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework on June 12, 2017 (the “Framework”) which articulated their shared vision for early learning and child care and describes their approach to achieve this vision;

Whereas, the Department of Employment and Social Development Act authorizes the Minister of Employment and Social Development (the “Federal Minister”) to enter into agreements with the provinces and territories, for the purpose of facilitating the formulation, coordination and implementation of any program or policy within the mandate of the Federal Minister;

Whereas, the Child Day Care Act authorizes the Minister of Education (the “Territorial Minister”) to enter into agreements with the Government of Canada under which Canada undertakes to provide funding toward costs incurred by the Government of Nunavut for the provision of early learning and child care programs and services;

Whereas, Canada has, pursuant to its Policy on Transfer Payments, established a transfer payment program to provide funds to the provincial and territorial governments for the development and delivery of regulated early learning and child care programs and services for children under six years of age, with consideration for families more in need;

Whereas, Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council jointly released the co-developed Indigenous ELCC Framework in September 2018. This Framework establishes overarching principles and sets a vision for happy and safe Indigenous children and families, strong cultural identity, and a comprehensive and coordinated system that is anchored in self-determination, centered on children and grounded in culture. The Indigenous ELCC Framework can be used as a guide for all actors involved in Indigenous ELCC;

Whereas, Nunavut invests in early learning and child care for Indigenous children; and

Whereas, Canada and Nunavut will continue to work together towards a renewed Canada-Nunavut Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.

Now therefore, Canada and Nunavut agree as follows:

1.0 Vision for Early Learning and Child Care

1.1 Canada and Nunavut agree that the long term vision, principles and objectives for early learning and child care, which are set out in the Framework that is attached as Annex 1, will guide the investment of funds provided under this Agreement.

2.0 Early Learning and Child Care objectives and areas of investment

2.1 Objectives

2.1.1 Canada and Nunavut agree that over the period of this Agreement, with financial support from Canada, Nunavut will further build its early learning and child care system by addressing local, regional and system priorities that have an impact on families more in need by increasing the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in early learning and child care, towards achieving the following:

  1. In line with the vision of access for all children, the Framework establishes broad goals for early learning and child care systems that are of high quality, accessible, flexible and affordable and inclusive. The Government of Nunavut, through the Department of Education is in agreement with these goals and is committed to working towards fulfillment of these goals. These goals are set out in the attached Action Plan (Annex 2): Early Learning & Child Care Action Plan 2017-2021, Department of Education, Government of Nunavut. This four (4)-year Early Learning and Child Care Action Plan articulates how the Department of Education will work towards achieving the goals mentioned above and allocate the resources received from the Federal Government in support of the Framework.

2.2 Eligible Areas of Investment

2.2.1 Nunavut agrees to prioritize funds provided by Canada under this Agreement for regulated early learning and child care programs and services for children under the age of six where:

  1. regulated programs and services are defined as those that meet standards that are established and/or monitored by provincial/territorial governments
  2. early learning and child care programs and services are defined as those supporting direct care and early learning for children in settings including, but not limited to, regulated child care centres, regulated family child care homes, early learning centres, preschools and nursery schools

2.2.2 Official Languages and the Inuit Language Protection Act

2.2.2.1 Nunavut agrees that it shall take into account the needs of official language minority communities in Nunavut in execution of any early learning and child care programming.

2.2.2.2 Nunavut acknowledges that Article 32 of the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement and the Inuit Language Protection Act require that territorial institutions design and deliver programs and services that are responsive to the linguistic objectives of the Inuit and shall take this into account in developing and delivering its early learning and child care programs and services.

2.2.3 Types of investments include: capital and operating funding for regulated early learning and child care, fee subsidies, training, professional development and support for the early childhood workforce, quality assurance, parents information and referral, and administration costs incurred by Nunavut in implementing and administering this Agreement.

2.2.4 Canada and Nunavut also agree to promote, define, and deliver identifiable innovative approaches to enhance the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity of early learning and child care systems, with consideration for those more in need.

2.2.5 Canada and Nunavut agree that funding will be targeted toward programs and activities, as described above, for children under the age of six, that will have an impact on families more in need such as lower-income families; Indigenous families; lone-parent families, families in underserved communities; those working non-standard hours; and/or families with children with varying abilities. Needs also include having limited or no access to early learning and child care programs and services in the children’s official language.

2.2.6 In 2020-2021, under extraordinary circumstances, Nunavut may allocate funding under this agreement to support short-term measures to minimize the impacts of COVID-19 on Nunavut’s ELCC system. These measures must be aligned with the principles of the Multilateral ELCC Framework and be used to sustain ELCC programs and services.

3.0 Period of agreement

3.1 This Agreement shall come into effect upon the last signature being affixed and will remain in effect until March 31, 2020, unless terminated in writing by Canada in accordance with the terms hereof in section 11. Funding provided under this Agreement, in accordance with section 4, will cover the period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020. Amendments to this agreement shall come into effect upon the last signature being affixed and will remain in effect until March 31, 2021, unless terminated in writing by Canada or Nunavut in accordance with the terms hereof in section 11. Funding provided under this amended Agreement, in accordance with section 4, will cover the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

3.2 Renewal of Bilateral Agreements

3.2.1 Canada commits that the annual allocation for the period 2021-2022 to 2027-2028 will be no less than the annual allocation of this Agreement. Funding for future years will be provided upon the renewal of bilateral agreements conditional on Canada’s acceptance of new action plans and informed by the assessment of the results achieved under the action plan set out in Annex 2.

3.2.2 The renewal will provide Nunavut and Canada the opportunity to review and course correct, if required, and realign new priorities in future bilateral agreements based on progress made to date.

4.0 Financial provisions

4.1 These contributions are in addition to and not in lieu of those that Canada currently pays to Nunavut through the Canada Social Transfer in order to support early childhood development and early learning and child care within Nunavut.

4.2 Allocation to Nunavut

4.2.1 In this Agreement, “Fiscal Year” means the period commencing on April 1 of any calendar year and terminating on March 31 of the immediately following calendar year.

4.2.2 Canada has designated the following maximum amounts to be transferred in total to all provinces and territories under this initiative with a fixed base rate of $2 million per year for each province and territory and the balance of the funding on a per capita basis for the period starting on April 1, 2017 and ending on March 31, 2021:

  1. $399,669,692 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2017
  2. $399,347,695 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2018
  3. $399,347,695 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2019
  4. $399,347,694 for the Fiscal Year beginning on April 1, 2020

4.2.3 Subject to annual adjustment based on the formula described in section 4.2.4, Nunavut’s estimated share of the amounts described in section 4.2.2 will be:

Fiscal Year Estimated amount to be paid to Nunavuta (subject to annual adjustment)
2017-2018 $2,382,092
2018-2019 $2,381,762
2019-2020 $2,381,762
2020-2021 $2,385,174

aAmount represents annual estimates based on Statistics Canada population estimates

Canada commits that the annual allocation for the period 2021-2022 to 2027-2028 will be no less than the annual allocation of this current agreement under the conditions set in section 3.2.1.

4.2.4 The final yearly amount to be paid to Nunavut will be calculated using the following formula F x K/L, where:

F is the annual total funding amount transferred to provinces and territories minus the base funding;

K is the total population of Nunavut, as determined using annual population estimates from Statistics Canada;

L is the total population of Canada, as determined using annual population estimates from Statistics Canada.

4.2.5 For the purposes of the formula in section 4.2.4, the population of Nunavut for each Fiscal Year and the total population of all provinces and territories for that Fiscal Year are the respective populations as determined on the basis of the quarterly preliminary estimates of the respective populations on July 1 of that Fiscal Year released in September of that Fiscal Year by Statistics Canada.

4.3 Payment

4.3.1 Canada’s contribution will be paid in approximately equal semi-annual installments as follows:

The first installment will be paid on or about June 15 of each Fiscal Year. The second installment will be paid on or about November 15 of each Fiscal Year.

The amount of the first installment will be an amount equal to 50% of the notional amount of Canada’s maximum contribution to Nunavut for the Fiscal Year, which will be calculated in the manner described in sections 4.2.4 and 4.2.5.

The amount of the second installment will be an amount equal to the balance of Canada’s contribution to Nunavut for the Fiscal Year based on the actual amount of the contribution determined under sections 4.2.4 and 4.2.5 for the Fiscal Year.

Canada will notify Nunavut at the beginning of the Fiscal Year of their notional amount. The notional amount will be based on the Statistics Canada quarterly preliminary population estimates on July 1 of the preceding Fiscal Year. Canada will notify Nunavut of the actual amount of the second installment in each Fiscal Year as determined under the formula set out in section 4.2.4 as soon as possible following the release in September of each year of the Statistics Canada quarterly preliminary population estimates referred to in section 4.2.5.

Canada shall withhold payment of its second installment for the Fiscal Year if Nunavut has failed to provide its annual audited financial statement for the previous Fiscal Year in accordance with section 5.2.1 (d) until such time as the annual audited statement is provided.

Payment of Canada’s funding for each Fiscal Year of this Agreement is subject to an annual appropriation by the Parliament of Canada for this purpose.

4.4 Maximum annual contribution in respect of administration costs

4.4.1 Canada’s contribution in respect of Nunavut’s administration costs referred to in section 2.2.3 shall not exceed:

In Fiscal Years 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 an amount up to 10% of the maximum amount payable for those Fiscal Years.

4.5 Carry Forward

4.5.1 At the request of Nunavut and subject to the approval of Canada's Treasury Board, Nunavut may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2018-2019, an amount of up to 50% of the contribution paid to Nunavut for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 under section 4.2.4 that is in excess of the amount of the eligible costs actually incurred by Nunavut in that Fiscal Year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2018-2019 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 in the subsequent Fiscal Year.

4.5.2 For greater certainty, any amount carried forward to Fiscal Year 2018-2019 under section 4.5.1 is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Nunavut under section 4.2.4 of this Agreement in 2018-2019.

4.5.3 The amount carried forward, pursuant to section 4.5.1 must be spent by March 31, 2019. Nunavut is not entitled to retain any such carried forward amounts that remain unexpended after March 31, 2019, nor is it entitled to retain any balance of Canada's contribution for fiscal year 2018-2019 paid pursuant to section 4.2.4 that remains unexpended at the end of that fiscal year. Such amounts are to be repaid to Canada in accordance with section 4.6.

4.5.4 At the request of Nunavut and subject to the approval of Canada's Treasury Board, Nunavut may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2019-2020, an amount of up to 10% of the contribution paid to Nunavut for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 under section 4.2.4 that is in excess of the amount of the eligible costs actually incurred by Nunavut in that Fiscal Year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2019-2020 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 in the subsequent Fiscal Year.

4.5.5 At the request of Nunavut and subject to the approval of Canada’s Treasury Board, Nunavut may retain and carry forward to Fiscal Year 2020-2021, an amount of up to 29% of the contribution paid to Nunavut for 2019-2020 under section 4.2.4 that is in excess of the amount of eligible costs actually incurred by Nunavut in that fiscal year, and may only use the amount carried forward to 2020-2021 for expenditures on eligible areas of investment under section 2.2 incurred in that fiscal year.

4.5.6 For greater certainty, any amount carried forward to Fiscal Year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 under this section is supplementary to the maximum amount payable to Nunavut under section 4.2.4 of this Agreement in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.

4.5.7 The amount carried forward, pursuant to sections 4.5.4 and 4.5.5 must be spent by March 31 of the subsequent Fiscal Year. Nunavut is not entitled to retain any such carried forward amounts that remain unexpended after March 31 of the subsequent Fiscal Year, nor is it entitled to retain any balance of Canada's contribution for fiscal year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 paid pursuant to section 4.2.4 that remains unexpended at the end of that fiscal year. Such amounts are to be repaid to Canada in accordance with section 4.6.

4.5.8 In the event that this amendment is approved after March 31, 2020, the parties agree that it is an extension of the April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020 agreement from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 and as such carry forward provisions still apply.

4.6 Repayment of overpayment

4.6.1 In the event payments made to Nunavut exceed the amount to which Nunavut is entitled under the Agreement, the amount of the excess is a debt due to Canada and shall be repaid to Canada upon receipt of notice to do so and within the period specified in the notice.

4.7 Use of Funds

4.7.1 Canada and Nunavut agree that funds provided under this Agreement will only be used by Nunavut in accordance with the areas for investment outlined in section 2.2 of this Agreement.

5.0 Accountability

5.1 Action Plan

5.1.1 Nunavut has completed and shared its Action Plan for the years 2017-2018 to 2019-2020 of federal funding with Canada as set out in the Canada-Nunavut Early Learning and Child Care Agreement 2017-2020. Upon signature of this Agreement by both Parties, Nunavut will publicly release their Action Plan which:

  1. identifies specific priority areas for investment and objectives, within the Framework’s parameters, which builds upon the progress to date in the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and/or inclusivity of their early learning and child care system, with consideration for those more in need
  2. describes how Nunavut plans to address the early learning and child care needs of its children/families more in need, including families that have limited access to programs and services in their official language
  3. outlines Nunavut’s planned innovation spending
  4. demonstrates that federal investments will be incremental, and will not displace existing Nunavut early learning and child care spending, in particular spending dedicated to Indigenous populations
  5. outlines the indicators that will be reported on annually according to their planned investments
  6. identifies specific targets for each indicator that will be reported on annually for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement
  7. identifies additional jurisdiction-specific indicators for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement
  8. contains a description of consultation processes referred to in section 5.1.2, including the type of groups consulted and annual priorities related to stakeholder feedback

5.1.2 Nunavut will consult with parents, child care providers, experts, Indigenous peoples, official language minority communities and other interested Canadians as an important step in developing and revising its Action Plan.

5.1.3 Nunavut submitted an updated Action Plan for fiscal year 2020-2021, as set out in Annex 2, updating their areas of investments and targets, as necessary, outlined in its Action Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2018 to 2019-2020. This updated Action Plan may include changes to programming and program delivery provided that the more affordable child care spaces funded continue to be supported as much as possible, subject to extraordinary circumstances. Upon signature of this Agreement by both Parties, the updates to this Action Plan will be publicly released.

5.2 Reporting

5.2.1 By no later than October 1 of each Fiscal Year during the Period of this Agreement, Nunavut agrees to:

  1. report to the people of Nunavut and to Canada on the results and expenditures of early learning and child care programs and services. The report shall include the number of children benefitting from subsidies, number of licensed early learning and child care spaces broken down by age of child and type of setting. The report shall show separately the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement
  2. continue to provide to Canada data required for the publication of the joint Federal-Provincial/Territorial report on Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada
  3. provide to Canada an Annual Report in the format and manner decided jointly by Canada and Nunavut. The report shall show separately the results attributable to the funding provided by Canada under this Agreement and shall include:
    1. brief descriptions of the activities, expenditures and results of the Agreement as set out in Annex 2
    2. results achieved according to the indicators and targets referred to in Annex 2
    3. descriptions of impacts on families more in need, including families that have limited access to programs and services in their official language referred to in Annex 2
    4. results achieved on innovation referred to in Annex 2
    5. descriptions of consultation processes, the type of groups consulted and annual priorities related to stakeholder feedback referred to in Annex 2; and
    6. any additional results of evaluation activities undertaken in the Fiscal Year, as available
  4. provide to Canada an audited financial statement of revenues received from Canada under this Agreement during the Fiscal Year which shall include:
    1. the revenue section of the statement shall show the amount received from Canada under this Agreement during the Fiscal Year
    2. the total amount of funding used for early learning and child care programs and services under section 2.2
    3. the administration costs incurred by Nunavut in developing and administering early learning and child care programs under section 2.2.3
    4. if applicable, the amount of any amount carried forward by Nunavut under section 4.5; and
    5. if applicable, the amount of any surplus funds that are to be repaid to Canada under section 4.6

The financial statement shall be prepared in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the audit shall be performed by the Nunavut Auditor General or his/her delegate, or by an independent public accounting firm registered under the laws of Nunavut and shall be conducted in accordance with Canadian Generally Accepted Auditing Standards.

5.2.2 Canada, with prior notice to Nunavut, may incorporate all or any part or parts of the said report into any public report that Canada may prepare for its own purposes, including any reports to the Parliament of Canada or reports that may be made public.

5.3 Audit

5.3.1 Nunavut will ensure that expenditure information presented in the annual report is, in accordance with Nunavut’s standard accounting practices, complete and accurate.

5.4 Evaluation

5.4.1 Pursuant to established policies and processes with respect to program effectiveness, Nunavut will evaluate programs and services receiving funds provided under this Agreement and make public the results of any such evaluations.

6.0 Long-term collaboration

6.1 Canada and Nunavut agree to share and release data, knowledge, research and information, as available, on effective and innovative practices in early learning and child care, to further support the development of and reporting on quality and outcomes. Canada and Nunavut agree to work together, and with stakeholders, towards the development of common quality and outcome measures that could be included in bilateral agreements in the future that could reinforce the Framework’s long-term vision.

6.2 Canada and Nunavut agree to work together to improve data collection and dissemination on key early learning and child care information for children under age six.

7.0 Communications

7.1 Canada and Nunavut agree on the importance of communicating with citizens about the objectives of this Agreement in an open, transparent, effective and proactive manner through appropriate public information activities.

7.2 Each government will receive the appropriate credit and visibility when investments financed through funds granted under this Agreement are announced to the public.

7.3 Canada agrees to give Nunavut 10 days advance notice of public communications related to the Framework, bilateral agreements, and results of the investments of this Agreement.

7.4 Nunavut agrees to give Canada 10 days advance notice and advance copies of public communications related to the Framework, bilateral agreements, and results of the investments of this Agreement.

7.5 Canada reserves the right to conduct public communications, announcements, events, outreach and promotional activities about the Framework and bilateral agreements.

8.0 Dispute resolution

8.1 Canada and Nunavut are committed to working together and avoiding disputes through government-to-government information exchange, advance notice, early consultation, and discussion, clarification, and resolution of issues, as they arise.

8.2 If at any time either Canada or Nunavut is of the opinion that the other Party has failed to comply with any of its obligations or undertakings under this Agreement or is in breach of any term or condition of the Agreement, Canada or Nunavut, as the case may be, may notify the other Party in writing of the failure or breach. Upon such notice, Canada and Nunavut will endeavour to resolve the issue in dispute bilaterally through their designated officials.

8.3 If a dispute cannot be resolved by designated officials, then the dispute will be referred to the Deputy Ministers of Canada and Nunavut most responsible for early learning and child care, and if it cannot be resolved by them, then the Federal Minister and the Territorial Minister shall endeavour to resolve the dispute.

9.0 Amendments to the agreement

9.1 This Agreement, including all attached annexes, may be amended at any time by mutual consent of the Parties. To be valid, any amendments shall be in writing and signed, in the case of Canada, by the Federal Minister, and in the case of Nunavut, by the Territorial Minister.

10.0 Equality of Treatment

10.1 During the term of this Agreement, if another province or territory, except the province of Quebec, which is not part of the Framework, negotiates and enters into an Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with Canada, or negotiates and enters into an amendment to such an agreement and if, in the reasonable opinion of Nunavut, any provision of that agreement or amended agreement is more favourable to that province or territory than terms set forth in this Agreement, Canada agrees to amend this Agreement in order to afford similar treatment to Nunavut, if requested by Nunavut. This includes any provision of the bilateral agreement except for the Financial Provisions set out under section 4.0. This amendment shall be retroactive to the date on which the Agreement or the amendment to such an Agreement with the other province or territory, as the case may be, comes into force.

10.2 Canada will make publicly available up-to-date Early Learning and Child Care Agreements entered into with all provinces and territories, including any amendments, by posting them on a Government of Canada website.

11.0 Termination

11.1 Canada may terminate this Agreement at any time if the terms of this Agreement are not respected by Nunavut by giving at least 6 months written notice of its intention to terminate.

11.2 Upon the effective date of termination of this Agreement under section 11.1, Canada shall have no obligation to make any further payments to Nunavut.

12.0 Notice

12.1 Any notice, information or document provided for under this Agreement will be effectively given if delivered or sent by letter, postage or other charges prepaid. Any notice that is delivered will have been received in delivery; and, except in periods of postal disruption, any notice mailed will be deemed to have been received eight calendar days after being mailed.

The address for notice or communication to Canada shall be:

Social Policy Directorate
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau QC  K1A 0J9

The address for notice or communication to Nunavut shall be:

Director, Early Learning and Child Care
PO Box 1000, Station 960
Iqaluit, NU  X0A 0H0

13.0 General

13.1 This Agreement, including Annexes 1 and 2, comprise the entire agreement entered into by the Parties with respect to the subject matter hereof.

13.2 This Agreement is based on the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, Annex 1, concluded on June 12, 2017.

13.3 This Agreement shall be interpreted according to the laws of Canada and Nunavut.

13.4 No member of the House of Commons or of the Senate of Canada or of the Legislature of Nunavut shall be admitted to any share or part of this Agreement, or to any benefit arising therefrom.

13.5 If for any reason a provision of this Agreement that is not a fundamental term is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be or to have become invalid or unenforceable, in whole or in part, it will be deemed to be severable and will be deleted from this Agreement, but all the other provisions of this Agreement will continue to be valid and enforceable.

13.6 The English and French versions of this Agreement, when signed, are equally authoritative.

Signed on behalf of Canada by the Minister of Employment and Social Development styled as the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development at Gatineau this 11th day of June, 2020.

[Signed by] The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Signed on behalf of Nunavut by the Minister of Education at Iqaluit this 12th day of June, 2020.

[Signed by] The Honourable David Joanasie, Minister of Education

Annex 1: Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers most responsible for Early Learning and Child Care agree on the importance of supporting parents, families and communities in their efforts to ensure the best possible future for their children. For more details on this agreement, please consult the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

Annex 2: Nunavut’s action plan

Multilateral and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Frameworks

Early learning and child care (ELCC) is a common policy priority all across Canada. To better support Canadian families and communities, especially those most in need, Budgets 2016 and 2017 announced federal investments totaling $7.5 billion over 11 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care across the country. Of this amount, $1.7 billion over 10 years has been dedicated to strengthen early learning and child care programs and services for Indigenous children and families.

In the spirit of greater collaboration, on June 12, 2017 Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for ELCC met and signed a historic agreement on a Multilateral ELCC Framework to make enhancements to provincial and territorial early learning and child care systems that will improve the lives of Canadian children and their families. 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.

In addition to this long-term vision, the Multilateral ELCC Framework stresses the importance of supporting families more in need to access high quality early learning and child care opportunities. Given the importance of supporting families more in need, the provinces and territories have agreed, through the Framework, to emphasize supports to Indigenous families, lone-parent families, lower-income families, families in underserved communities, those working non-standard hours and/or families with children with varying abilities.

The Indigenous ELCC Framework represents the Government of Canada and Indigenous peoples’ work to co-develop a transformative Indigenous framework that reflects the unique cultures, aspirations and priorities of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children across Canada.

Alongside a distinction-based approach that respects the specific priorities of First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, the Framework describes an overarching vision for a comprehensive and coordinated early learning and child care system led by Indigenous peoples, establishes shared principles, and includes specific gender and geographic considerations that represent the views of all Indigenous children and families. For Nunavut, where approximately 80% of the population are Inuit, the emphasis is on the Inuit distinctions based approach of the framework.

In line with the vision “where all children can experience the enriching environment of quality early learning and child care” from the Multilateral ELCC Framework and the vision where “all Indigenous children have the opportunity to experience high-quality, culturally rooted ELCC programming” from the Indigenous ELCC Framework, both Frameworks also establish broad principles for ELCC systems. The Government of Nunavut (GN), through the Department of Education, is in agreement with these goals and is committed to working towards the continued fulfillment of these goals. This one year ELCC Action Plan continues the work of the 2017-2020 Action Plan and articulates how the Department of Education will continue working towards achieving the goals mentioned above and allocate the resources received from the Federal Government in support of ELCC programs and services as part of the Multilateral ELCC Framework and aligned with the Indigenous ELCC Framework.

It should be noted that as a condition of the Multilateral ELCC Framework, any funding received from the Federal Government in support of this initiative must be allocated towards children, under age 6, attending regulated ELCC programs. Additionally, investments must be for the purpose of supporting those families more in need with a view to ensuring that ELCC systems are of high quality, accessible, flexible, affordable and inclusive. The Framework encourages provinces and territories to find innovative solutions to achieving these goals.

Benefits of Early Learning and Child Care

The Department of Education firmly believes in the positive outcomes associated with access to ELCC programs and services. Research conducted in this area has revealed, time and time again, numerous developmental benefits for children, many of which have lasting implications into adolescence and early adulthood. The Department of Education believes that ELCC provides a solid foundation, on which a life time of learning and development is built. It is this foundation which allows for the development of the whole child, including areas related to health and well-being and language acquisition, both of which are of significance in Nunavut.

The Department of Education also acknowledges the role that ELCC plays in terms of reducing barriers to greater labour force participation. Simply put, parents need access to safe, reliable, affordable child care options so that they may pursue education, training and employment opportunities.

In line with these views, the Department of Education supports the delivery of ELCC programs and services as a means to:

  • promote the social, emotional and cognitive development of the child
  • increase school readiness and educational attainment
  • enhance the use of Inuktut
  • improve health outcomes and overall well-being; and
  • support increased labour force participation

A) Specific priority areas for investment and objectives, within the Frameworks’ parameters, with consideration for those more in need

From the results of the Department of Education’s consultations, and consistent with the Multilateral and Indigenous ELCC Frameworks, five broad ELCC commitments have been identified in this action plan that will address gaps in the ELCC system and increase the flexibility of ELCC programs to provide consistent and more accessible services that meet the needs of the communities they serve.

1. To support the healthy development of children by ensuring that ELCC programs are of high quality and rooted in Inuit culture, traditions and values

The Department of Education recognizes that children will only fully benefit from ELCC programs and services that are of the highest quality possible and rooted in the Inuit culture and language. The Department will support ELCC facilities in the pursuit of quality program delivery by investing in educators and educational program materials. Several of the identified actions in this action plan serve to effectively address this area of commitment.

2. To support the training and professional development of the ELCC workforce

Just as teachers are the most important resource in our schools, so too are the early childhood educators working within the ELCC facilities. The Department of Education will take action to assist and support ELCC facilities in helping to ensure that the staff working within the facilities have greater access to training and professional development opportunities. Access to these opportunities will allow educators to develop their skills and knowledge which will help to ensure the delivery of high quality, inclusive programming to our children. Greater access to training may also contribute to increased confidence and workplace satisfaction amongst educators in order to help improve retention. The Department of Education will ensure that training and professional development opportunities are accessible to all ELCC licensed facility staff, and that such opportunities are flexible and allow for the greatest amount of staff participation.

3. To support the delivery of ELCC programming in every community

In recognition of the benefits associated with ELCC programming and the need to ensure that such benefits are experienced equitably in all Nunavut communities, the Department of Education is committed to reopening and supporting licensed ELCC facilities that are currently closed and inoperative. The Department is also committed to supporting all licensed operational facilities in all communities to ensure that they remain open and have the resources they need in order to deliver effective programming. The Department acknowledges the administrative challenges associated with overseeing an ELCC facility and has identified actions to assist all ELCC facilities to more effectively and efficiently administer the operations of their programs. These actions are in support of ensuring that ELCC programming is accessible in all communities across Nunavut.

4. To acknowledge and recognize the importance and value of ELCC and of ELCC educators

Development of the child during the formative years is crucial. For children attending an ELCC facility, the early childhood educator is one of the greatest resources affecting the child’s development. The Department of Education believes in the significant role played by early childhood educators and is committed to enhancing recognition of the value these educators have in the development of children. ELCC facilities are struggling to retain skilled educators in a competitive workplace environment. Acknowledging the valuable role that early childhood educators play not only benefits educators themselves, but also our children attending ELCC programs as they stand to receive programming from a more satisfied, confident and engaged educator. As educator retention improves, children will benefit from greater continuity and consistency in programming.

5. To promote and resource ELCC to enable and support greater use of Inuktut

The Department of Education is committed to bilingual education and supporting the use of Inuktut as a language of instruction. The Department of Education believes that exposure to language is ideally initiated at an early age, when the mind of a child is at its most receptive. Given this, the Department of Education recognizes the important role of ELCC in supporting the teaching and practice of Inuktut. The Department of Education is committed to providing greater support to ELCC facilities in an effort to empower them to more fully integrate Inuktut into ELCC programming through the availability of educational resources needed to effectively promote Inuktut in the ELCC facilities.

Early Learning and Child Care in Nunavut: Challenges and Opportunities

The impact of Nunavut’s remoteness on the delivery of ELCC programs and services is such that the cost of establishing, operating and maintaining ELCC facilities is staggeringly high. Individuals and not-for-profit organizations across Nunavut seek licenses to operate ELCC facilities, but high capital costs, ongoing maintenance, and other operational difficulties often result in facilities opening, just to close in a few years resulting in inconsistent services for many communities. In addition to these high costs, developing and maintaining infrastructure is often extremely challenging because of an insufficient supply of building materials and contractors given that all supplies must be flown into communities or seasonally shipped by boat. The high cost of operating ELCC programs, coupled with a very large, young population, places a considerable burden on Nunavut’s ELCC system

System gaps in ELCC programs in Nunavut persist due to challenges compounded by the remote nature of all Nunavut’s communities, the increasingly high cost of services, and challenges related to training and retention of qualified ELCC staff. ELCC programs and facilities face increasing costs resulting in regular increases to parental fees in order to remain operational. Simply providing fee subsidies would do little to address the pervasive system gaps and would not allow the flexibility for ELCC programs to increase accessibility to and quality of their programs.

High parent fees remain an issue within Nunavut, as they continue to affect the accessibility of many centers. Data was collected in 2020 regarding parental fees and showed that the average parental fee per child was $40.59 per day for infants and $40.10 per day for preschoolers, with the highest fee reaching $65.00. Initiatives that can bend the increasing cost curve of fees for parents will improve accessibility to ELCC programs for more children.

ELCC facilities in Nunavut face increasing financial challenges and have little to no capacity to generate revenue without increasing parental fees. This financial challenge often results in system gaps and can adversely affect the quality of services provided. Supporting ELCC facilities to bridge the gap which exists between the amount of funding and revenue they generate and the cost of running their programs will ensure the viability of the ELCC facilities and improve the quality of ELCC programs. Doing so will help ELCC facilities deliver affordable, high quality, and more consistent programs and services to families with children enrolled in their facility. Furthermore, this would also provide ELCC facilities with increased flexibility to respond to the unique needs of the communities they serve.

Selected Areas of Investment

From the commitments outlined above, the Department has identified two priority areas of investment:

  1. supporting and maintaining access to affordable ELCC programs and services through Operations and Maintenance funding supports and the creation of child care spaces in underserved communities; and
  2. promoting high quality, inclusive ELCC programs and services through greater training and professional development opportunities of the ELCC workforce and the development of learning and teaching resources and programming materials in all of Nunavut’s official languages, for use in ELCC facilities
Areas of Investment 2020-2021
I. Supporting and maintaining access to affordable ELCC programs and services $1,535,000
Operations and Maintenance Funding Top-Up Funding $1,435,000
Child Care Space Creation in Underserved Communities 100,000
II. Promoting high quality, inclusive ELCC programs and services through training, professional development and program materials  $800,000
ELCC Training Sessions $300,000
Educational Programming Resources and Training $500,000
Administrative Costs $50,000
Total $2,385,000

Below is a description of the actions that the Department of Education will undertake in support of the identified areas of investment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nunavut’s ability to deliver on initiatives outlined in the updated Action Plan for 2020-2021 may be affected. As such, the targets may not be achieved and expenditures may differ.

I. Operations and Maintenance Funding and ELCC Spaces $1,535,000

a) Operations & Maintenance Top-Up Funding

Through the funding made available in support of the Multilateral ELCC Framework, the Department will provide all licensed ELCC facilities in Nunavut with increased funding to help with the costs associated with the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the facility. Up to $1,535,000, over and above what the GN currently allocates for O&M, will be provided to facilities annually based on a similar formula for regular O&M using location and type of facility as well as number and type of child care spaces.

In order for facilities to receive this O&M top-up funding, a stipulation will be outlined stating that if agreeing to receive this funding, staff wages must meet or exceed the minimum of $20 an hour, and funding must be used to maintain parental fees (allowing for a small cost of living increase of no more than $3/day while also ensuring that parental fees are not greater than $65/day during the 2020-2024 fiscal years), and to provide professional development opportunities for staff.

This funding will support ELCC facilities to bridge the gap which exists between the amount of funding and revenue they generate and the cost of running their programs. This funding will help ELCC facilities deliver affordable and more consistent programs and services to families with children enrolled in their facility.

This funding also supports ELCC staff to earn greater than Nunavut’s minimum wage of $16 an hour and to earn a more livable working wage in communities with a very high cost of living.

More than 50 licensed facilities stand to benefit from this action. As many as 250 staff stand to benefit from higher wages. The parents of more than 1000 children stand to benefit from parent fees being maintained at a similar lever to 2017 levels (allowing for a cost of living increase of no more than $3/day during the 2020-2024 fiscal years).

This action is in support of commitments 1, 2, 3, and 4.

This action is in support of the Frameworks in that it serves to help ensure that child care spaces are accessible and affordable because it supports the on-going operations of existing licensed facilities and allows for operational costs to more effectively be managed.

Action investment value: $1,435,000

b) Child Care Space Creation in Underserved Communities

Through the funding made available in support of the Multilateral ELCC Framework, the Department of Education will fund those ELCC facilities, located in underserved communities, which have been closed for an extended period of time (for example more than 3 years).

For facilities that have closed due to financial issues, approval of such funding support is contingent on the established ELCC staff participating in financial literacy/management training and the development of a strategic plan, in which the ECE staff and management will identify what measures will be taken to ensure that it does not encounter similar issues to those which originally led to the closure of the facility.

For facilities that have closed due to other reasons such as structural and deferred maintenance, this funding can be viewed as minor capital funding to increase the number of childcare spaces available in the territory.

This funding will be available on a first come, first served basis, and will prioritize supporting facilities in underserved communities where few or no other ELCC facilities are operational. The purpose of this funding is to support an increase in child care spaces in underserved communities.

This funding could help one ELCC centre re-open in 2020-2021. This could translate into an increase of 20 child care spaces in underserved communities.

This action is in support of commitment 3.

This action is in support of the Frameworks because it strives to ensure that ELCC is accessible in every community, with emphasis on underserved communities. Action investment value: $100,000

II. Training, Professional Development and Program Materials $800,000

c) ELCC Training Sessions

Through the funding made available in support of the Multilateral ELCC Framework, the Department of Education will plan and deliver ELCC Training and Professional Development Sessions to be held during the One-Year Action Plan. The ELCC Training and Professional Development Sessions may be offered in communities, regionally or territorial-wide, depending on what type of training is needed. It will provide an opportunity for at least one staff person from each licensed ELCC facility to come together to share best practices, identify common challenges and issues, and access training, professional development and in-servicing opportunities. Possible training includes topics such as: administration, financial management, program planning, behavior management, communications, etc. and will be determined by the Early Childhood Officers and the ELCC facilities. The training sessions are an important vehicle through which the Department will deliver training and professional development which supports high quality and inclusive programming.

It is anticipated that as many as 250 educators will benefit from the training sessions, a minimum of 50 of which through direct participation, and the remaining through peer-to-peer learning from their colleagues upon return to the ELCC facility. As many as 1000 children stand to benefit from higher quality, more inclusive programming as a result of educators accessing training and professional development from this action.

This action is in support of commitments 1, 2 and 3.

This action is in support of the Frameworks because it has an impact on the accessibility of ELCC programs and services and because it supports the provision of high quality, inclusive programming.

Action investment value: $300,000

d) Educational Programming Resources and Training

Through the funding made available in support of the Multilateral ELCC Framework, the Department of Education will fund the development of standardized program materials to help support the delivery of consistent, high quality, instruction in ELCC facilities. The program resources will identify instructional methodologies, activities and themes to use and implement in the day-to-day delivery of programming in the facility. Resources will be available in all official languages and will reflect Nunavut, life in the North and the Inuit Culture. These resources will also focus on approaches to program delivery which are inclusive in nature, as this is important to the Department and are in-keeping with the principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and consistent with the principles of the Framework.

Once developed, staff within the ELCC facilities will be provided with training on the program resources. The Department will endeavour to ensure that training is provided in communities to allow for the greatest amount of participation amongst facility staff.

Once again, as many as 250 educators and 1000 children stand to benefit from accessing the developed program materials and training of ELCC staff.

This action is in support of commitments 1,2 and 4.

This action is in support of the Frameworks because it will lead to higher quality program and service delivery. Moreover, because the materials to be developed will focus on inclusive program delivery, this action is also in support for the Frameworks’ emphasis on inclusivity.
Action investment value: $500,000

B) Describes how Nunavut plans to address the early learning and child care needs of its families more in need

A case could be made that Nunavut, with the youngest population in the country, has some of the greatest need for increased funding in the area of ELCC. According to the Nunavut Bureau of Statistics, Nunavut’s total population in 2016 was 37,082 of which, 31,234 or 84.2% identified as being Inuit. In that same year, children aged 0 to 4 accounted for just over 11% of Nunavut’s total population, the largest age cohort in the territory. Further still, in 2016, children aged 5-9 represented just under 11% of Nunavut’s total population. Overall, children aged 0 to 14 accounted for close to 31% of Nunavut’s population in 2016 where the Canadian average for this age cohort was 16.1%. Moreover, Nunavut’s fertility rate in 2016 was 2.99 according to Statistics Canada, close to double that of the Canadian average which was 1.54.

Educational attainment is often considered a significant predictor of employment and as a result, linked to economic prosperity. Where it concerns educational attainment, the Nunavut Bureau of Statistics reports Nunavut’s 2017 graduation rate at 47.7%, which is below the national average. As per Statistics Canada, in 2018 nearly 58% of Canadians age 25 to 64 had completed some form of post-secondary education compared with just over 34% for Nunavut.

In terms of economic indicators, according to Statistics Canada, Nunavut’s median total income by family was the lowest in the country in 2017 at $74,450. The Canadian average for that same year was $84,950. Further still, the Nunavut Bureau of Statistics reports that some 14,488 Nunavummiut received income assistance in 2018, which represented 49.7% of the population at that time.

Nunavut is the only Canadian province or territory not accessible by road at any point in the year. All 25 of Nunavut’s communities are fly-in accessible only, with a very limited window for cargo boat shipping. This lack of access and considerable degree of remoteness has significant logistical and financial implications on numerous aspects of life in Nunavut. From everyday necessities such as food to building supplies and the recruitment of specialized staff, much of what is needed in Nunavut must be flown in from southern Canada and this drives up costs considerably. For instance, in its 2016 Nunavut Food Price Survey, the Nunavut Bureau of Statistics reported that the cost of food in Nunavut is roughly twice as high as the Canadian average.

Sharing knowledge and information is further impeded in Nunavut by poor telecommunications infrastructure which limits the ability to take advantage of technology that would permit the use of video conferencing and webinars when endeavoring to provide training and in-servicing. Such training and in-servicing activities are once again only possible through air travel which is costly.

The result of Nunavut’s remoteness on the delivery of ELCC programs and services is such that the cost of establishing, operating and maintaining ELCC facilities is staggeringly high. In addition to these high costs, developing and maintaining infrastructure is often extremely challenging because of an insufficient supply of building materials and contractors. The high cost of operating ELCC programs, coupled with a very large, young population, places a considerable burden on Nunavut’s ELCC system. It is for these reasons that investments in this area are needed.

Given Nunavut’s unique circumstances and context, as presented above, the Department is of the opinion that all of Nunavut is “more in need” when it comes to accessing high quality ELCC programs and services. Because the vast majority of Nunavummiut are indigenous, minority language speakers (in the context of Canada) and non-affluent, the actions and investments outlined in this action plan do not target specific groups within Nunavut’s population. Rather, Nunavut’s Action Plan focuses on ensuring an equitable distribution of high quality, accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive ELCC programs in all of Nunavut’s communities. The actions constituting Nunavut’s Action Plan were developed through this lens.

C) Outlines their planned innovation spending

Recalling the information provided in section B, Nunavut has endeavored to find innovative approaches to investing in ELCC through the funding made available in support of the Framework.

Access to training and professional development opportunities for ELCC staff is quite limited within Nunavut. Because of Nunavut’s remoteness, Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) is the sole provider of early childhood educator training, however; programming offered through NAC is not available in all communities nor on a regular basis. While distance education opportunities may exist in this program area, significant bandwidth limitations mean that such opportunities are generally not available to educators in Nunavut. Because of the constraints found in Nunavut, notably in relation to the issues of remoteness and communication infrastructure needs discussed above, the Department of Education believes that the ELCC Training and Professional Development Sessions are an innovative approach to delivering training and professional development opportunities to ELCC facility staff in all communities.

Where it concerns the creation of child care spaces, opening a new ELCC facility is a challenging endeavour in Nunavut. This is the case because all ELCC facilities are run by not-for-profit societies which require members of the public to volunteer their time to serve on the board of the society. Such board positions are not easily filled as the members of the public with interest and knowledge to serve in this capacity are often overtaxed by serving on numerous boards within the community setting. Given this, societies often struggle to fill their board seats or address the high turnover of board members.

Compounding this issue is the tremendous challenge of developing suitable infrastructure in Nunavut. In addition to the cost associated with such projects, which is several times higher than that found in southern Canada, other logistical barriers exist such as an insufficient supply of contractors and building materials. Also, as discussed elsewhere in this Action Plan, $2.4 million would barely put a dent in the cost of creating additional child care spaces through the development of new ELCC facilities.

In an effort to find an innovative solution to creating additional child care spaces in Nunavut, the Department has identified an opportunity to help support those ELCC facilities that are no longer operational and to re-open them to create additional child care spaces in underserved communities. Such facilities often close because of financial mismanagement and may not be in a position to re-open their doors to children without significant funding support.

The Department believes that these closed facilities are well positioned to re-open because they may have several of the necessary supports and requirements already in place, such as a building in which to operate, a board to administer the centre and a client base. Creating additional child care spaces using existing facilities presents significant time and cost savings. As such, the Department of Education believes that supporting closed facilities is an innovative approach to making the most effective use of the resources available in an otherwise resource scarce area, for the sake of creating greater access to ELCC.

D) Demonstrates that federal investments will be incremental, and will not displace existing territorial early learning and child care spending, in particular spending dedicated to Indigenous populations

Education is a top priority of the GN. As articulated in the GN’s mandate document, Turaaqtavut, the GN is committed to enabling affordable and accessible daycare that supports learning and development in early childhood. The GN is equally committed to supporting the delivery of educational programming which is consistent with the principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) and supports the promotion and use of all of Nunavut’s official languages.

In light of this priority area, the GN invested roughly $4,393,000 in 2018-2019 in a variety of ELCC programs and programs supports, including program start-up, operations and maintenance, the Health Children’s Initiative, Inuit language and culture, Young Parents Stay Learning, and training.

The Government of Nunavut, through the Department of Education, is committed to maintaining this current level of investment and all funding received from the Government of Canada in support of the Multilateral ELCC Framework will be supplemental to that which is already allocated towards ELCC in Nunavut.

E) Outlines the indicators that will be reported on annually according their planned investments

Areas of Investment Expected Outcomes Indicator(s) Principle(s) Supported
Operations and Maintenance Funding and ELCC Spaces
  • Address the high operating costs of ELCC facilities in Nunavut
  • Help to ensure that ELCC staff are paid adequately, in full and on time
  • Help ensure that ELCC facilities remain operational
  • Help prevent a large increase in parent fees
  • Number and percentage of children accessing ELCC programs and services
  • Number of children in underserved communities accessing ELCC programs and services
  • Number of licensed child care spaces created
  • Number and percentage of staff who are paid at least $20/hour
  • Number of parents whose child care costs have been maintained as a result of the O&M top-up funding
Accessible and affordable
Training, Professional Development and Program Materials
  • Enhanced educator training
  • Improved quality of ELCC programming
  • Increased support for ELCC staff
  • Increased support for teaching of Inuktut and Inuit culture
  • Improved ELCC staff skillset and knowledge base
  • Improved educator retention
  • Number and proportion of ELCC staff accessing training and professional development opportunities
  • Number and proportion of ELCC facilities implementing educational program resources and materials
  • Number of children in need of additional supports participating in programming
  • Number of children benefiting from programs that support Indigenous language and culturally-appropriate ELCC
High quality, accessible and inclusive

F) Identifies specific targets for each indicator that will be reported on annually for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement

  • As funding will be provided to 100% of eligible facilities (regulated facilities for children aged 0 to 6), as many as 50 ELCC facilities and the parents of as many as 1000 children stand to benefit from the funding associated with the Operations & Maintenance Top-Up Funding in each year of the Action Plan.
  • Through the Operations & Maintenance Top-Up funding, as many as 250 staff are paid a minimum of $20/hour.
  • Through the funding associated with the Child Care Space Creation in Underserved Communities action, the Department is targeting one facility to reopen, thus increasing the total number of child care spaces in the territory by as many as 20.
  • In terms of the ELCC Training and Professional Development Sessions, the Department is targeting the participation of 85% (or 43 ELCC facilities) of all facilities for each session offered during the life of the Action Plan. This would translate into reaching a minimum of 38 ELCC staff directly and approximately a further 213 staff indirectly, through the sharing of lessons learned and best practices. 912 children stand to benefit as a result of this action based on the participation rate identified above.
  • Where it concerns the development of Educational Programming Resources and providing Training, the Department is targeting the development of one, culturally and linguistically appropriate resource in each year of the action plan. The Department is targeting the provision of training on the developed resource to 85% of ELCC facilities thus, 43 facilities, 213 staff and 912 children stand to benefit from this action in each year of the Action Plan.

G) Identifies additional jurisdiction-specific indicators for tracking progress in relation to the objectives of the Agreement

None at this time.

H) A description of consultation processes, the type of groups consulted, and annual priorities related to stakeholder feedback

In order to develop the initial 3-Year ELCC Action Plan, the Department of Education consulted with a range of partners and stakeholders to capture unique perspectives on ELCC in Nunavut.

The partner and stakeholder organizations consulted included:

  • ELCC facilities from each of the regional hubs of Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit
  • Non-Governmental Organizations such as Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), the Regional Inuit Associations (RIAs), the Coalition of Nunavut District Education Authorities (DEA)s, the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth and the Language Commissioner’s office
  • Government of Nunavut Officials from the Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Family Services

Representatives from each of the organizations identified above were invited to take part in regional consultation sessions or interviews. Face-to-face sessions were held in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet in mid-to late May 2017 and interviews were conducted by telephone in Cambridge Bay in early June 2017.

Consultations focused on the identification of ELCC priorities, areas of need and investment opportunities in support of the identified priorities and areas of need.

The ELCC division also held consultations for the development of the Nunavut Early Learning and Child Care Framework (currently under development) throughout 2019. The same stakeholders and partner organizations were consulted including the Departments of Health, and Family Services.

The feedback was almost identical to what we heard in 2017.

The Department of Education also participates on an Inuit Early Childhood Development Steering Committee which has representatives from the three Regional Inuit Associations, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. The purpose of this steering committee is to provide a forum for collaboration, sharing, learning and, when applicable, coordination of Inuit-led Early Learning and Child Care programming, services and initiative in Nunavut. This steering committee meets monthly.

Summary of Feedback

While the range of partners and stakeholders involved in consultations was rather broad, the input received through consultations was quite focused and consistent. Repeatedly, the same priorities, areas of need and investment opportunities were articulated. A summary of the consultation findings is found below:

The most commonly identified ELCC priorities in Nunavut included:

  • increasing the number of child care spaces
  • enhancing ELCC employee retention
  • ensuring that programming is resourced adequately to ensure quality and linguistic and cultural appropriateness
  • ensuring that ELCC programs are safe, enriching environments for children
  • acknowledging the significant role of ELCC and specifically that of the early childhood educator

The most commonly identified areas of need in relation to ELCC in Nunavut included:

  • supporting ELCC staff training (including financial literacy training for managers and boards)
  • addressing ELCC staff retention and low compensation
  • standardizing program materials, resources and supports in all official languages
  • supporting greater use of the Inuit Language
  • addressing infrastructure needs - major capital funding for new facilities and minor capital funds for maintenance of existing facilities
  • providing greater access to specialist services (for example speech language pathologists)

The most commonly recommended investments included:

  • offering a wage enhancement program for ELCC staff, linked to training and professional development
  • developing educational programming resources in all official languages to support a more consistent, standardized approach to quality program delivery
  • holding a territory-wide ELCC conference so that all ELCC facilities can come together to access training opportunities, share best practices and discuss common challenges and issues
  • hiring additional GN ELCC staff to provide training in the ELCC facilities on an on-going basis
  • increasing access to major capital funding to increase the number of child care spaces available
  • increasing access to minor capital funding to help address maintenance issues within existing ELCC facilities
  • developing an early assessment tool for Nunavut

How and why investments were prioritized

The Department of Education recognizes the variety of worthy investment opportunities that were identified during the consultations, however; the reality is that resources are limited and so too must be the areas in which investments are made.

The Federal Government is allocating about $2.4 million for the next year in support of the Multilateral ELCC Framework and this associated action plan. When considering the areas of investments and actions to comprise this plan, the Department of Education is considering the following factors:

  • the amount of funding available ($2.4 million /year)
  • the goals of the Multilateral and Indigenous ELCC Frameworks
  • the existing funding supports provided by the Department of Education and other GN entities
  • the funding provided through non-GN entities (for example the RIAs)

It should be noted that increasing the number of child care spaces all across the territory, and especially in the regional centres of Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, was identified as the number one priority and most significant area of need in Nunavut. Despite this, most partners and stakeholders also identified that $2.4 million was inadequate to address this priority and area of need. This is due to the fact that the infrastructure needs associated with developing child care spaces in Nunavut are significantly higher than in other jurisdictions. The cost of developing spaces in Nunavut is such that this entire amount of funding could easily be used in one community, leaving little to distribute to the rest of the territory, and this would not be equitable.

It should also be noted that the delivery of a wage enhancement program for ELCC staff was the most frequently suggested area of investment by partners and stakeholders. While the Department of Education agrees that a wage enhancement program would be of great value, the parameters of the funding available in support of the ELCC Action Plan are such that this type of action is not possible.

With these factors in mind, the Department endeavoured to target the priorities and areas of need brought to light during consultations, that would not result in a duplication of efforts with existing Department of Education funding programs.

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