Backgrounder: 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.
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