Governments of Canada and Yukon are improving quality, accessibility and affordability of early learning and child care for families
Governments sign a bilateral agreement
February 7, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario
The governments of Canada and Yukon are making significant investments in early learning and child care systems to ensure children get the best possible start in life while keeping programs and services community-centred. Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Pauline Frost, Minister of Health and Social Services for Yukon, announced a three-year bilateral agreement that reaffirms their commitment to and support of the unique early learning and child care needs of Yukon.
The agreement allocates slightly more than $7 million to Yukon over three years for early learning and child care investments. Yukon’s Action Plan outlines how these funds will be invested. This funding will provide additional child care subsidy supports for grandparents who take care of their grandchildren, increase resources to assist Early Childhood Educators, help retain trained early childhood staff, and increase support to improve inclusive child care programming for children who are most in need.
Funding will help develop a curriculum that includes community-specific and culturally relevant programming that supports intellectual and social development, cultural awareness, Yukon First Nation languages and the French language. It will also help support the Franco-Yukonnaise community by providing more early learning opportunities for Francophone children who do not currently have access to child care in French.
The agreement represents a key deliverable on one of the Yukon government’s enduring priorities: to adopt a people-centred approach to wellness that helps Yukoners thrive. Specifically, it delivers on the government’s commitment to improve coordination of early childhood programs to maximize benefits for children.
This announcement follows a historic agreement on a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, signed on June 12, 2017 by Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care. 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 Yukon children get the best start in life.
“Our government believes that every Canadian family should have access to quality and affordable child care that reflects their cultural and linguistic heritage, no matter where in the country they live. Today’s agreement between Canada and Yukon is a big step towards ensuring that Yukon children get the best start in life, and we know that kids with quality early learning do better in school and in life.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“Families have more options when child care is affordable and accessible–parents are able to work and children have greater opportunities to reach their potential. This agreement with the Government of Canada will help to make that a reality for more low- and middle-income families and in turn, benefit our economy. We will continue our work with families, First Nation governments, non-government organizations, the private sector and early childhood educators to provide quality care and education for children in Yukon.”
– The Honourable Pauline Frost, Minister of Health and Social Services for Yukon
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 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 six other provinces and territories have been announced: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario and Prince Edward Island.
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 Yukon Action Plan supports main areas of investment over three years, which align with the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework. They are:
o Increasing the Direct Operating Grant for Whitehorse programs by 14.5 percent and rural programs by 34.5 per cent.
o Enhancing the quality of early learning and child care services.
o Improving the affordability and accessibility of early learning and child care.
o Testing and implementing innovative practices. These would include offering nine flexible child care spaces for children with parents suffering from addiction, and offering Handle with Care training to child care providers to promote the mental health of young children.
o Improving inclusive child care programming for children who are most in need and who have varying abilities.
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Communications and Social Marketing Director
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of Yukon
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