Two more provinces—PEI and New Brunswick—have signed bilateral agreements with the federal government to expand and improve early learning and child care services. The three-year bilateral agreements say how the federal government’s transfer payments to the provinces for child care will be spent.
“We are happy to see the federal government acknowledge it has a responsibility to address the child care crisis in our region and across the country, especially after such a long absence of federal involvement,” said Colleen Coffey, Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Regional Executive Vice-President for the Atlantic.
“Yet, we also know that what was announced last week isn’t going to be enough, and that’s why we intend to keep the pressure on governments to do more,” Coffey added.
Agreements provide targeted improvements
The agreements give New Brunswick $30 million, while PEI receives $10.5 million for a total of $40.5 million over three years. As required by the multilateral agreement on early learning and child care announced in June 2017, the federal funds will be directed to targeted groups of children and parents considered to have greatest need.
The PEI agreement promises an increase in the number of child care spaces for infants, as well as a response to the needs of parents who do seasonal and shift work.
The New Brunswick government used the opportunity to set out its own new child care funding commitment of $41 million. The combined $71 million will be used to move the province towards greater public management of child care by turning at least 300 existing child care programs into new Early Learning Centres. The New Brunswick government says these centres will benefit from measures to address quality concerns, to lower parent fees, and provide inclusive programmes.
Child Care campaign working
PSAC National President Robyn Benson said she was pleased that child care is on the political agenda and all governments are making promises to address the long-standing problems of affordability, quality, and access.
“Clearly the national child care campaign that PSAC is working hard to support is having an impact and that should motivate all of us to push governments even harder,” said Benson.
“Child care is a hot button issue, especially with so many provincial elections coming up, and the next federal election not so far away. We have to push all political parties to make affordable, accessible, quality child care a reality for all Canadians,” she said.
To join the growing list of child care campaign supporters, sign up at childcareforall.ca