Ottawa’s plan to implement $10-a-day child care for families is something the Saskatchewan government will be signing on.
The federal government is committing nearly $1.1-billion to Saskatchewan over the next five years, with $10-a-day child care expected to be implemented within that time.
Federal Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development Ahmed Hussen says the pandemic has highlighted just how important affordable childcare is.
“Parents, especially mothers, have had to make the difficult choice between going back to work to provide for their children, and staying home to take care of them, they shouldn’t be put in that position,” said Hussen. “We all know before the pandemic, the early learning and childcare sector, right across our country, was already undergoing tremendous challenges.”
Hussen says things like high fees, long wait lists, and lack of spaces for children with special needs are things that have plagued the sector before, and this announcement changes that.
Saskatchewan is the eighth province to sign on to the plan, with the province also promising to cut childcare fees in half by the end of next year.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland says the agreement is a proverbial hat-trick for everyone involved.
“It allows both mothers and fathers to work, increasing our labor force and that will make our economy grow, and it makes life more affordable for those young families,” said Freeland. “It also creates good, well-paid jobs for early learning educators, who are mostly women.”
Freeland says having a country-wide childcare plan will mean the next generation of Canadians will get a good start in life.
Provincial Education Minister Dustin Duncan says the funds will also help create about 28,000 new regulated early learning and child-care spaces.
He adds the only way the province recovers from the pandemic is if people can afford to go back to work.
“Helping Saskatchewan families meet their childcare needs by providing quality and affordable childcare is one of the best investments that we can make in our youngest learners and our economy, especially as we recover from the pandemic,” said Duncan.
Federal officials have been travelling the country in recent weeks, announcing agreements with provinces and territories to create a national childcare system.
Canada has already signed childcare deals with Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.