Sask. Party, NDP dispute over child care commitments in province

The Saskatchewan NDP’s economy and jobs critic wants the Saskatchewan government to step up its support for child care in the province.

During Tuesday’s question period session at the Saskatchewan legislature, Aleana Young called on the Saskatchewan Party government to create new child care spaces and help lower fees to assist women and men to return to work. She noted how thousands of out-of-job residents could find jobs and contribute to the province’s economy if those child care supports are available to them.

Young said child care has been a mess in Saskatchewan for years.

“The premier and ministers like to talk about keeping the economy open, and the only reason the economy is open is because parents are working full-time jobs and are providing child care,” she stated following question period.

Following the federal government’s $27.2-billion commitment towards child care over the next five years in Monday’s budget, Young added that child care is economic infrastructure.

“I found (Monday’s) announcement refreshing and decades overdue,” she started. “If we need to invest in child care in order to ensure that people can fully participate in the economy, then good because it is about time.”

She also called on the Sask. Party government to make sure federal money to boost child care will not be left on the table.

Education Minister Dustin Duncan said he will be having discussions with the federal government in the coming days to learn more about how the funding will benefit Saskatchewan moving forward.

One of the things his government wants to make sure in regards to this new funding is how flexible Ottawa will be when it comes to unique situations across the country.

“We all have different issues that we need to address when it comes to child care capacity in the provinces, but they are not all equal,” mentioned Duncan. “Certainly, when you look at the cross-Canada comparison, affordability would likely rank higher in some of the major centres.”

Duncan added that the provincial government is continuing to develop 176 home care spaces and 51 new centre spaces in the province.

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