GATINEAU, QC, April 16, 2021 /CNW/ - The importance of accessible, affordable and high-quality child care has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why the Government of Canada and the Government of Nova Scotia worked together during a challenging year to ensure families continued to have access to the affordable, high-quality and safe early learning and child care opportunities their children need to succeed.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, and Nova Scotia's Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, Derek Mombourquette, highlighted how a one-year Canada–Nova Scotia Early Learning and Child Care Agreement continued to provide support for children, families and educators.
The agreement allocated over $11.5 million in federal funding for early learning and child care investments in Nova Scotia. Specifically, Nova Scotia fully funded child care spaces during COVID-19 lockdown, protecting jobs and child care spaces and ensuring providers could reopen immediately when it was safe to do so. There was also a strong emphasis on improving quality through training and professional development for those working in child care, as well as initiatives to make the child care sector more affordable, accessible, and inclusive.
This agreement builds on the shared commitments made in the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and outlines Nova Scotia's unique child care needs and priorities, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It ensured funding continued to be available to support child care programs and services for Nova Scotia families in 2020–21.
These important investments in early learning and child care helped to create just over 40,000 more affordable child care spaces nationally prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with thousands of new spaces in Nova Scotia.
The Government of Canada is currently working with the Government of Nova Scotia to negotiate a new bilateral agreement that will continue to support the early learning and child care sector and that will build on this success as we move toward a Canada-wide early learning and child care system.
"Every child deserves the best possible start in life. High-quality, accessible and inclusive early learning experiences are essential to the intellectual, emotional and physical development of our children. Our Government is working hard to ensure that all children and families in the province have equal access to the quality early learning and child care they need to succeed."
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen
"Nova Scotia is a leader in building a strong early learning and child care sector. We thank the Government of Canada for its support for the sector and our province's families. Nova Scotia looks forward to working with the federal government on a pan-Canadian system that will ensure all children are able to participate in a quality early learning experience."
– Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development of Nova Scotia, Derek Mombourquette
The federal government entered into bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories to provide them with $1.2 billion over three years for early learning and child care programs, starting in 2017–18.
Going forward, the Government of Canada is committed to making a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a pan-Canadian early learning and child care system and to subsidizing before- and after-school care.The Government of Canada will also invest $420 million in new support for the recruitment and retention of early childhood educators.
The Government of Nova Scotia's action plan focuses on supporting the early learning and child care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the loss of child care spaces, providing training for undertrained child care staff currently working in the sector, as well as initiatives to make the child care sector more affordable, accessible, and inclusive.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/April2021/16/c4924.html