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e-2972 (Social affairs and equality)

E-petition
Initiated by Heidi Bergstrom from Camrose, Alberta

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • Early childhood education is a public good that creates a foundation for lifelong learning with positive, long-term implications;
  • Child care providers and early learning educators deserve appropriate remuneration, training and career opportunities more in line with their professional education;
  • Canada falls short of the international benchmark of 1% of GDP for children aged 0-5 in order to provide adequate funding for affordable child care and early childhood education;
  • Studies show that for every $1 invested in early childhood education, the return is $3-$6; and
  • The current pandemic is putting gains towards gender equality at risk when there was already a need for improvement.
We, the undersigned, residents and citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to implement a committee to study the feasibility of a federally funded early learning education and child care system that is universally accessible.

Response by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): ADAM VAUGHAN

The Government of Canada believes in supporting families to help their children get the best start in life. For Canadian families, high quality, affordable childcare is not a luxury it’s a necessity. Accordingly, the Government of Canada recognizes Canadians need accessible, affordable, inclusive and high quality childcare.

Budgets 2016 and 2017 committed an investment of $7.5 billion over 11 years to support and create more high quality, affordable and culturally appropriate childcare across the country.

Through bilateral agreements, the Government of Canada has provided funding to each province and territory to support their unique Early Learning and Child Care needs. Since 2017–2018, the Government of Canada has provided $1.2 billion for early learning and child are programs, and an additional $400 million is being provided to provinces and territories this year.

This investment includes no less than $130 million per year beginning in 2018–2019 for Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, in addition to $132 million in funding provided annually through Aboriginal Head Start and First Nation and Inuit Childcare programs.            

As part of the $7.5 billion investment, the Government of Canada is also supporting innovative practices in Early Learning and Child Care and addressing data gaps.

In addition, the Government of Canada recently provided $625 million to provinces and territories through the Safe Restart Initiative and $120 million to help Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care facilities safely operate during the pandemic.

The federal government is aware of the extraordinary toll this pandemic has taken on women. To combat the “she-cession” caused by COVID-19, the Government of Canada is moving forward with a plan to create a Canada wide Early Learning and Child Care system in partnership with provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples.

As a first step, as announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada is proposing key early investments to lay the groundwork for a Canada wide childcare system.

To help bring governments, experts and stakeholders together to collaborate in designing and implementing this new childcare vision for Canada, the Government of Canada will establish a Federal Secretariat on Early Learning and Child Care. The Government of Canada has also committed to supporting the existing federal Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Secretariat. In order to sustain the progress made in partnership with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners to date, our government is proposing to make the Early Learning and Child Care funding announced in Budget 2017 permanent at 2027-2028 levels. This represents an investment of $870 million per year and ongoing, starting in 2028-2029.

The government is also proposing to provide $420 million in 2021–2022 for provinces and territories to support the attraction and retention of early childhood educators. Supporting the valuable work of early childhood educators is key to the success of a high-quality childcare system, especially one which will expand the number of spaces across the country. In addition to the investments announced in the Fall Economic Statement for the early Childhood education workforce, the Government of Canada will also engage provinces and territories on future sustained investments in support of an Early Childhood Educator Workforce Strategy as a key enabling feature of Canada-wide childcare system.

In addition, the government is proposing to invest an additional $75 million in 2021–2022 to improve the quality and accessibility of Indigenous childcare programs. This would enable providers to take steps to improve the retention of Indigenous early childhood educators and to offer more flexible and extended hours of care.

The Fall Economic Statement also noted that Budget 2021 will outline a plan to provide affordable, accessible, inclusive and high quality childcare across the country. The Government of Canada also remains committed to subsidizing before and after school program costs as flexible care options for primary school children are more important than ever. Through the federal government’s continued support to increase access to high quality, affordable Early learning and Child Care programs, Canadian parents will have access to new opportunities to build a better future for themselves and their children.

Implementing a Canada-wide childcare system will support families across Canada who cannot access affordable and quality childcare, support women in entering or re-entering the workforce after having a child, and support those working as ELCC providers, including early childhood education.

Open for signature
November 5, 2020, at 4:52 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
January 4, 2021, at 4:52 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Damien Kurek (Battle River—Crowfoot)
January 29, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00468)
Government response tabled
March 22, 2021
Photo - Damien Kurek
Battle River—Crowfoot
Conservative Caucus
Alberta
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