Celebrating the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the Northwest Territories
December 15, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
For too long, families have faced high monthly child care fees, long wait lists and too few high-quality child care options. That is why the Government of Canada signed agreements with each province and territory to implement a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, giving children the best possible start in life and making life more affordable for families across Canada.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, and the Northwest Territories’ Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson, marked the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Canada–Northwest Territories Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
As part of the agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Government of Canada is providing approximately $51 million over five years for licensed early learning and child care for children from birth to age 5 in the territory. Through these investments, the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories are working together to improve access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services, with the goal of ensuring that Northwest Territories families have access to licensed child care for an average fee of $10 a day by March 31, 2026.
As of December 2022, one year into the Agreement, the Northwest Territories has reduced child care fees by 50% on average, and all licensed child care providers are participating in the Child Care Fee Reduction Subsidy. The Government of the Northwest Territories is also on track to achieve the target of 300 net new spaces by 2025–2026.
Licensed programs that are free, rather than fee-based, were provided with funding by the Government of the Northwest Territories to support sustainability. The combined budget for 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 is $750,000. In addition to the Child Care Fee Reduction Subsidy, this funding is intended to offset costs associated with operating and to provide continued affordability for those families whose children attend free programs.
The Government of the Northwest Territories is also supporting the valuable work of the early childhood educator workforce, who are at the heart of the Canada-wide early learning and child care system, by providing funding for enhanced wages through a retention incentive as well as expanding scholarship eligibility criteria.
Building an early learning and child care system that works for all families in every region of the country is a key part of the Government of Canada’s plan to make life more affordable for families while creating good jobs and growing the economy. All of Canada’s provinces and territories have announced reductions in child care fees or were already providing child care services for $10 a day or less when they joined the Canada-wide early learning and child care system.
“As we mark the first year of our Canada-wide agreement with the Northwest Territories, our governments can take pride in having delivered real savings to families in the territory, while also supporting the early childhood education sector. By working with the Government of the Northwest Territories, high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive child care is becoming a reality in the territory. I look forward to continued success as we build toward our ultimate goal of $10-a-day regulated child care everywhere in Canada.”
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
“Through this historic agreement, our government has helped generate transformational change for families across the Northwest Territories. Making childcare more affordable is not only sound fiscal and social policy, it also gives Northern children a brighter future.”
– Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, Michael McLeod
“As we recognize the first year of the Northwest Territories Canada-wide Agreement, we have much to celebrate. In the last year, the Northwest Territories and federal governments have invested millions of dollars in child care infrastructure, reduced child care fees, and increased wages for early childhood educators working in centre-based programs. These actions provide real benefits for residents across the territory. We are well on our way to creating a universal child care system and I look forward to completing the work ahead.”
– Northwest Territories’ Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson
As part of Budget 2021, the Government of Canada made a transformative investment of more than $27 billion over five years to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system with the provinces and territories. Combined with other investments, including investments in Indigenous early learning and child care, up to $30 billion over five years will be provided in support of early learning and child care.
Through previous investments in early learning and child care, the Government of Canada has helped to create over 40,000 more affordable child care spaces across the country, including supporting the affordability of 1,525 spaces in the Northwest Territories.
Recognizing that early childhood educators are at the very heart of a high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care system, wage grids or additional training supports for early childhood educators are part of all Canada-wide agreements with provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec, which has an asymmetrical agreement.
To ensure that families across Canada have enduring access to affordable, inclusive and high-quality early learning and child care, the Government of Canada has recently introduced Bill C-35, which, if passed, would enshrine the principles of a Canada-wide early learning and child care system into federal law. This includes a commitment to maintain long-term federal funding for provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples to support the provision of early learning and child care under a Canada-wide system.
Investments in child care will benefit everyone across Canada. Studies show that for every dollar invested in early childhood education, the broader economy receives between $1.50 and $2.80 in return.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
Government of the Northwest Territories
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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