Ottawa, B.C. reach deal on child-care funding

COQUITLAM, BC – The federal government has reached an agreement with British Columbia, the Trudeau Liberals’ first agreement to establish a national daycare system, and a move that longtime proponents describe as “very good news” for families and the economy.

COQUITLAM, BC – The federal government has reached an agreement with British Columbia, the Trudeau Liberals’ first agreement to establish a national daycare system, and a move that longtime proponents describe as “very good news” for families and the economy.

The agreement aims to create 30,000 new rooms in BC over the next five years, with the average fee for regulated rooms halving to $ 21 per day by the end of 2022 and $ 10 per day for children under six by 2027 per day will be achieved.

Funding is also aimed at low-income, indigenous, black and newly arriving families.

Speaking on the announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the pandemic revealed that it was virtually impossible for parents, especially mothers, to build careers without good childcare.

“Tough families deserve better and our economy deserves better too,” he said. “This is exactly what a feminist recovery looks like.”

The province is the first to sign the Liberals’ offer set in the April federal budget, which pledged $ 27.2 billion in new spending over five years that the government plans to send to the provinces to subsidize daycare.

The text of the agreement, posted on a provincial website Thursday, shows that the per capita funding model used by the Liberals will receive BC about $ 350 million this year, down from the last year of the agreement to 910 Million US dollars will rise.

Childcare advocates had seen the first agreement on the national system as a benchmark for others. For another deal in the coming weeks, proponents are now turning their eyes east, such as Atlantic Canada.

“The federal government speaks to all provinces and territories,” said Morna Ballantyne, executive director of Child Care Now group, “and all we have heard is that no one is left.”

The NDP government in British Columbia launched a pilot program for day care centers valued at $ 10 a day after being elected in 2017 and promised during the election campaign last fall that the program would be rolled out across the province.

The new agreement requires the province to create at least 12,500 places for $ 10 a day by the end of next year.

Horgan said the province had heard calls for affordable childcare from lawyers and parents as well as business councils and chambers of commerce.

“Of course, because our society is made up of families, they realize that if we are to have full participation (in the economy) after the pandemic, we need everyone in place,” Horgan said.

Childcare researcher and analyst Lynell Anderson said economists broadly agree that affordable childcare systems pay off in the short term and offer long term benefits. Families who participated in BC’s pilot program described it as “life changing,” she said.

Prices in BC vary based on where you live, but it’s not uncommon to pay $ 1,200 a month for infant care or $ 800 a month for children ages three to five, said Sharon Gregson, who works with Anderson on the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC works.

Halving average childcare prices by the end of next year would be significant, Gregson said, adding that it is important that the transition to lower fees be swift.

The agreement also calls for the expansion of public and non-profit daycare and the increase in the wages of workers necessary to attract and retain good people who will help with early childhood development.

“These two points are critical to ensuring quality care,” said Andrew Bevan, a former chief of staff for former Ontario Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne, who has written on childcare.

“It matters who does the childcare, and the staff really matter.”

Trudeau was faced with broad sides from his political opponents. Conservative critic Corey Tochor criticized the Liberals’ “Ottawa knows best” approach and suggested that his party reconsider daycare plans to give Canadians the “freedom to choose the childcare option that is right for them.” .

The federal NDP argued that signs of the prime minister preparing for an election are undermining his government’s stated priority of helping parents.

After the press conference, Trudeau made a campaign stop at the White Spot restaurant to pick up lunch, bump elbows, and pose for selfies with surprised guests. His stay in BC was followed by visits to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The hints of an election are the reason why Ballantyne and other supporters are calling on the federal parties to honor all childcare agreements and to resume negotiations for others regardless of the election result in order to move away from a national system after the Conservatives came to power in 2006.

“I’m sobered by this story, but I really believe that the public landscape has changed and we understand the gender equality implications of investing in childcare … and the economic implications,” said Kate Bezanson, assistant dean of social science at Brock -University.

“It’s a triple word count – it’s good for kids, it’s good for families, and it’s good for business.”

Trudeau started his day behind closed doors in Metro Vancouver, discussing the BC wildfires and the recent punitive heatwave with members of his cabinet’s Incident Response Group.

He had also scheduled an afternoon meeting with the Lytton Mayor and Fraser Canyon community indigenous leaders to discuss recovery from a forest fire that devastated the village last week.

– Posted by Amy Smart in Vancouver with files from Jordan Press in Ottawa

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 8, 2021.

The Canadian press

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