Government of Canada and Government of Newfoundland and Labrador sign bilateral agreement on early learning and child care

News Release

Improving quality, accessibility and affordability of early learning and child care across Newfoundland and Labrador

December 15, 2017                  St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador        

The Government of Canada is making significant investments in early learning and child care systems to improve the lives of Canadian children and their families. Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Honourable Dale Kirby, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development for Newfoundland and Labrador, announced a three-year bilateral agreement that reaffirms their commitment to and support of the unique early learning and child care needs of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The agreement allocates just over $22 million, over three years, to Newfoundland and Labrador for early learning and child care investments. The funding will support the existing 10-year child care strategy Caring for Our Future: Provincial Strategy for Quality, Sufficient and Affordable Child Care in Newfoundland and Labrador 2012-2022 which will develop and implement innovative approaches to address early learning and child care challenges through subsidies, grants, bursaries and professional learning opportunities.

This announcement follows a historic agreement, made on June 12, 2017, by 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. The Framework principles include 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 bilateral agreement is another step to help ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador children get the best start in life and is supported by long-term Government of Canada investments in early learning and child care announced in Budgets 2016 and 2017, totalling $7.5 billion over 11 years. 

Quotes

“For many families, access to high-quality, affordable child care is not a commodity—it is a necessity. That is why the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador strongly believe investments in early learning and child care will build a high-quality, flexible, inclusive and affordable early learning and child care system.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“The first years of life are essential for children’s development and future well-being. That is why I am pleased that the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador are working together to improve the long term capacities of the early learning and child care system.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“As a government we recognize that child care plays a vital role in the healthy development of children and the well-being of families throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. We are very pleased to partner with the Government of Canada on this important bilateral agreement that will see much-needed federal support for enhancing early learning and child care in our province.”
– The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“We are very pleased to work with our federal partners on this significant initiative. This funding will help us deliver on our mandate for increasing access to affordable, quality childcare and making a clear difference in the lives of children, families and all of those involved in early childhood education in our province”
– The Honourable Dale Kirby, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development for Newfoundland and Labrador

Quick Facts

  • 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 more in need. Of this investment:

    o    $95 million will go towards closing data gaps to better understand child care challenges and needs and track progress;

    o    $100 million will go towards early learning and child care innovation; and

    o    a portion will be dedicated to strengthening culturally appropriate early learning and child care for Indigenous children.

  • The federal government will work 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.

  • 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.

  • The Newfoundland and Labrador action plan is built on two main priority areas, aligning with the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework. They are:

    o    Improving accessibility and affordability of child care for low and middle income families by:

    -       enhancing the Operating Grant Program with an anticipated target of 540 affordable sustainable child care spaces;

    -       implementing changes to the Child Care Services Subsidy program; and

    -       enhancing the Child Care Capacity Initiative with an anticipated target of 236 new child care spaces.


    o    Enhancing the quality of early learning and child care across Newfoundland and Labrador by:

    -       enhancing grants, bursaries and professional learning opportunities for early childhood educators;

    -       introducing a Capital Renovation Grant Program for Licensed Child Care Centres; and

    -       developing a Quality Improvement Program.

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Contacts

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

Michelle Cannizzaro
Office of the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-3960
michellecannizzaro@gov.nl.ca

Debbie Marnell
Media Relations Manager
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-1906, 699-9048

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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