Backgrounder: Early Learning and Child Care


Early Learning and Child Care

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. Since then, each province and territory has signed a bilateral agreement with the Government of Canada that represents the unique early learning and child care needs to its jurisdiction.[i]

All governments have worked 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.

Through the bilateral agreements, the Government of Canada will provide provinces and territories with $1.2 billion over three years for early learning and child care programs.

Funding for each province and territory has been announced, and all agreements can be found online.

Canada Child Benefit

Budget 2016 introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which replaced the Universal Child Care Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. It is a key initiative of the Government to strengthen the middle class and help those working to join it. The CCB provides a maximum annual benefit of $6,400 per child under the age of six, and $5,400 per child aged 6 through 17. The benefit is tax-free and paid monthly to eligible families.

  • The CCB is:
    • simple ­– families receive a single payment every month
    • tax-free – families do not have to pay back part of the amount received when they file their tax returns
    • targeted at those who need it most – low- and middle-income families get higher payments, and those with the highest incomes receive less than under the previous system of child benefits
    • generous – on average, families benefitting from the CCB receive about $6,800 in CCB payments annually.


[i] While the Government of Québec supports the general principles of the Early Learning and Child Care Framework, it does not adhere to the Framework as it intends to preserve its sole responsibility in this area on its territory. The Government of Québec has received its share of the federal funding and will continue to invest significantly toward programs and services for families and children.

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