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Justin Trudeau announces new measures to develop childcare services

Photo: Tijana Martin The Canadian Press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited a daycare in Surrey, British Columbia, on the sidelines of his announcement to develop childcare services in the country.

The Canadian Press in Surrey

March 28, 2024

  • Canada

The federal government's pre-budget charm offensive was back for a second straight day on Thursday, this time targeting parents and child care providers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government plans to provide more than $1 billion in low-cost loans, grants and student loan forgiveness to expand child care services across Canada.

“This is a brand new program that we are building because as a government we decided and we knew that access to affordable child care and high quality was important across the country, not only so that children can have the best start in life, not only because it contributes to our economic growth, but also because families, especially moms, should not have to to choose between a career and raising a family. »

Mr. Trudeau made the announcement in Surrey, British Columbia, as part of the Liberal government's efforts to regain the support of young voters and middle-class families.

The Prime Minister said the money would be loaned directly to public and non-profit child care providers through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to expand their spaces or for projects such as new centers built alongside social housing.

An additional $60 million will be set aside for non-repayable grants for eligible child care centers to expand or renovate their facilities, he added.

The government will also provide student loan forgiveness for rural and remote early childhood educators, as well as $10 million over two years to provide additional training.

Funding for more affordable child care spaces is an expansion of the government's $10 per day child care program agreed with the provinces and territories.

Relief for farmers and families

Rhea Hubbard, director of a Surrey-based organization called Alex House, which oversees 18 child care centers in British Columbia, attended Mr. Trudeau's event.

She hopes this announcement will bring relief to families and workers. Hubbard said daycares were overwhelmed by demand for their services.

“For us as operators, it stabilizes our workforce. It stabilizes our operations, it stabilizes our staff, which is critical,” Hubbard said of the new funding announcement.

She said she is excited about the prospect of more families benefiting from the $10-a-day program.

“There are tears flowing, the relief we see among the families is enormous,” she admitted.

Conservatives singled out

Justin Trudeau acknowledged during the announcement that not all provincial governments are acting “as quickly or as responsibly as they should” to implement the $10 a day program.

“We will continue to work constructively with all provinces, but recognize that because the federal Conservatives consistently oppose child care, Conservative premiers sometimes move slowly and, in other cases, do not reach the required level, because they listen to their federal counterparts. »

Daycare operators in some provinces have threatened to withdraw from the national system, saying federal-provincial agreements limit the fees they can charge and do not cover their costs.

Child care groups in Alberta and Ontario said the burden of providing low-cost child care falls on the shoulders of operators.

Mr. Trudeau said his government would hold these provinces accountable once funding was accepted.

“But this billion dollars of investment in childcare services will make a huge difference in the number of places available across the country,” he assured.

At a secondary press conference regarding the announcement, Jenna Sudds, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, noted that provinces and territories must submit an annual plan for the financing of child care services, as well as an annual report.

“Alberta and Ontario have signed agreements and made commitments not only to us as the federal government, but also to families in their provinces, to work in good faith with us to achieve the goals of this program, by increasing access and making care more accessible and affordable,” she argued.

NDP critic for children, families and social development, Leah Gazan, welcomed the announcement.

She criticized the conservative opposition, saying its members tried to “block the program at every step.”

“They have pushed for a private, for-profit system that parents cannot afford, which would leave child care workers in an even worse situation,” a- she declared in the press release.

Minister Sudds said the benefits of the national system are already being felt across the country.

She told reporters that more women are entering the workforce than ever before. “And it’s just beginning,” she said.

She noted that high demand means more families are on waiting lists, which is why there is a need to add more child care spaces.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Trudeau kicked off the pre-budget tour by announcing a $15 million fund and a charter of rights to better protect tenants.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116