February 9, 2021 Ottawa, Ontario
The current COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of affordable, accessible, inclusive, and high-quality child care for Canadian families. While much progress has been made in recent years, there is more to be done to meet the needs of children and families.
Today, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers* most responsible for early learning and child care met virtually to discuss next steps for further pan-Canadian collaboration in early learning and child care to improve the lives of children and families. Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, and Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Natalie Jameson, co-chaired the meeting.
At the meeting, Ministers discussed the investments outlined in the federal Fall Economic Statement, including $420 million in new support to provinces and territories for the recruitment and retention of early childhood educators, and laid the groundwork to continue collaborative discussions on early learning and child care in Canada that is affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality to best meet the needs of children and families in all communities and with flexibility to take into account federal, provincial and territorial priorities.
The Ministers recognized the efforts of provinces and territories to deliver high quality child care to families across Canada through well-established child care systems, particularly during the pandemic. Ministers agreed to initiate discussion for renewed bilateral funding agreements in accordance with the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, noting some common interests, challenges and perspectives on early learning and child care, including support for workforce participation.
Ministers discussed the potential for a Forum of FPT Ministers Most Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care. In recognition of the importance of improving access to affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality child care for families, Ministers agreed to reconvene for another meeting in 2021.
Note: Because it intends to retain exclusive responsibility for early learning and childcare in its territory, Quebec will continue to develop its own childcare system and will not participate in the creation of a pan-Canadian system. As a result of the foregoing, Quebec will participate in the Permanent FPT Ministerial Forum, as well as the work arising from it, only as an observer in order to exchange information and share its best practices.
*The representative from Newfoundland and Labrador attended as an observer, given that the province is currently in a general election period.
“The past year has made it abundantly clear that affordable, accessible, inclusive and high quality child care is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. Leaders in the private, social and labour sectors all agree that child care is a vital part of our social infrastructure as it helps create good middle-class jobs and spurs economic growth. Now is the time to make long-term, sustained investments to ensure that every Canadian family has access to affordable and high-quality child care.”
– Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen
“The province of Prince Edward Island is pleased to co-chair the work on a Canada-wide early learning and child care system that will benefit children, families and our labour force. Prince Edward Island is regarded as a leader in early childhood education and we remain committed to long-term, strategic investments in the early learning and child care sector to ensure the strength of our communities and most importantly, a strong start in life for our children.”
– Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Natalie Jameson.
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For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Seniors Communications Officer
Department of Education and Lifelong Learning