Early Learning and Child Care

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Early learning and child care needs across the country are vast and diverse. That is why high‑quality, affordable child care is more than a convenience—it's a necessity. For too many families, the lack of affordable, high-quality child care means difficult choices. Some parents may have to sacrifice retirement savings to pay for child care, while others may leave their careers because child care is unavailable or unaffordable.

The Government of Canada is investing in early learning and child care to help Canadian children get the best start in life and have a fair chance to succeed. To better support Canadian families and communities, especially those most in need, Budget 2016 and Budget 2017 proposed federal investments totalling $7.5 billion over 11 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care across the country. This is an investment in the economic security of families.

As a first step, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care have agreed to a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework. The new 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. The guiding principles of the Framework are to increase quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in early learning and child care.

Collaborative work will continue with provincial and territorial governments to enter into three-year bilateral funding agreements totalling $1.2 billion and address their specific early learning and child care needs. Additionally, $95 million will go towards closing data gaps to better understand what child care looks like in Canada and to track progress and $100 million for innovative practices on early learning and child care.

A distinct Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework will also be co-developed with Indigenous partners, reflecting the unique cultures and needs of First Nation, Inuit and Métis children across Canada.

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