Helping families in Canada to benefit from innovative early learning and child care practices 

News release

April 18, 2023             Vancouver, British Columbia              Employment and Social Development Canada

The early learning and child care sector continues to evolve in increasingly complex and challenging environments. Identifying innovative practices and solutions that better address the essential needs of children and families is key to continuing to improve early learning and child care services across Canada.

Today, the Minister of International Development, Harjit S. Sajjan, on behalf of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould, announced funding for Langara College for their project entitled Innovating Virtual Reality in Inclusive and Anti-biased Early Learning and Child Care Training, which is being funded through the Early Learning and Child Care Innovation Program.

Through this program, Langara College is receiving a total of $2,671,771 in federal funding over a three-year period from February 2023 to January 2026. In collaboration with a committee of members from the Musqueam First Nation brought together by Gail Sparrow, Special Advisor to the President and former Chief of the Musqueam First Nation, and the YMCA BC’s Early Years and Family Development Branch, this project will research ways in which virtual reality and immersive learning can be used to provide early childhood educators with improved training on how to work respectfully and inclusively with Indigenous, racialized, and diverse children and families. These new methods are aiming to improve training for early childhood educators.

Building an inclusive Canada-wide early learning and child care system for children and families from diverse populations 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 also creating good jobs and growing the economy.


“Innovative practices can help develop solutions that better meet the needs of children across the country. Langara College aims to improve early learning and child care training so that educators can better understand children and families with unique needs, including children and families from equity deserving groups. We are dedicated to ensuring that families have access to high-quality, flexible and inclusive child care so all children have the best possible start in life.”

– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould

“Vancouver South is a diverse and vibrant community and today’s investment of over $2.6 million will empower Langara College to create the early childhood educators of tomorrow who reflect the diversity of our neighbourhoods, right here in the heart of South Vancouver.”

– Minister of International Development, Harjit S. Sajjan

“Langara College is committed to preparing future-ready students. Our student researchers are empowered to use their knowledge outside of the classroom, gaining hands-on experience while making connections with industry leaders. Through projects such as this, our Applied Research Centre is becoming well-known for a portfolio of projects that address social innovation.”

– Dr. Paula Burns, President of Langara College

“This is an exciting opportunity for Langara College students and faculty who will be closely involved in the research, development and pilot testing of the project. The application of virtual reality will facilitate the development of our students’ skills faster and more in-depth so they’re better prepared to work with the diversity of children they will encounter in the field. This project has the potential to not only impact families in our community, but the field of early childhood education across Canada.”

– Margaret Heldman, Provost and Vice President Academic of Langara College

Quick facts

  • The Early Learning and Child Care Innovation Program supports the exploration, testing and development of innovative approaches to support children and families’ access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services across the country.

  • The results of this project will contribute to a pool of knowledge and expertise, such as best practices, tools, models and approaches that will have the potential to be replicated, scaled and adapted in other communities and regions across Canada.

  • Budgets 2016 and 2017 provided funding of $7.5 billion over 11 years for early learning and child care. Of this amount, $100 million is being dedicated to early learning and child care innovation.

  • 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.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Philippe-Alexandre Langlois
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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