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A look at federal child-care deals signed with jurisdictions across Canada

Children's backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare facility in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Ontario has signed a child-care agreement with the federal government, making it the last jurisdiction to sign onto a national plan to bring $10-a-day child care to every province and territory by 2026. Here's a look at the deals signed across the country:


The province reached an agreement last year that stipulates Ottawa will work with B.C. to reach an average of $10-per-day child care in regulated spaces for children under six before 2027. The deal aims to create 30,000 new spaces in B.C. over a five-year period, with fees for regulated spaces cut in half by the end of 2022. B.C. was the first province to sign on to the Liberal offer laid out in the 2021 budget. After being elected in 2017, B.C.'s NDP government began a $10-a-day daycare pilot program and pledged during the 2020 election campaign to expand the program provincewide.


The territory's child-care deal includes the creation of 110 new regulated early learning and child care spaces within a five-year period, which Yukon builds on its plan for parents to pay an average of $10-a-day in out-of-pocket fees for full-time regulated spaces for children under age six. The agreement also helps fund implementation of Yukon’s wage grid, which provides a minimum wage of nearly $30 an hour to qualified early childhood educators. The federal funding will be used to create regulated spaces among not-for-profit, public and family based service providers. It will see the federal government provide nearly $42 million over five years to child care.


The Northwest Territories signed a $51-million deal with Ottawa in December 2021 that will immediately cut the cost of childcare in half and eventually see the price fall to $10 a day in five years. The deal will also create 300 new daycare spaces in the territory by 2026.


Alberta signed on in November to a deal with $3.8 billion in federal funding over five years. Child-care fees are to be halved by the end of this year and reduced to an average of $10 a day by 2026. The agreement makes eligible all types of licensed child-care facilities up to kindergarten.  It is also to create 42,500 new regulated early learning and child care spaces by the end of March 2026. 


Nunavut was the last territory and the second last jurisdiction in Canada to sign onto the deal. The territory announced the $66-million deal virtually in January, which will see daycare fees cut in half by the end of 2022 and reach $10 a day by 2024. Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok said 238 new daycare spots will be created by 2026. The territory has a longstanding daycare shortage and most of the territory's 25 communities don't have licensed facilities, instead relying on home care. To increase the number of spots, the Nunavut government has said it hopes to create new daycare spaces in schools and empty buildings.


Saskatchewan signed a deal with Ottawa in August of last year to bring the cost of child care for kids under the age of six down to $10 a day by 2025-26. However, fees for parents will be cut in half by the end of 2022. This is being done through grants, retroactive to July 2021, saving parents up to $400 a month. The deal will also create 28,000 new provincially regulated spaces.


The province reached a deal in August with the federal government committing to $1.2 billion over five years for $10-a-day child care for families by 2023. The funds are also to be used to create 23,000 early learning and child-care spaces for kids ages six and under. It also sets a salary floor of $25 an hour for child-care workers.


Ontario's $10.2 billion deal will cut child-care fees in the province in half by the end of the year. In the short-term, parents of children aged five and under in licensed child care will start getting rebates in May, retroactive to April 1, for a fee reduction of up to 25 per cent. Further cuts are slated for September 2024 to bring Ontario to an average of $10 a day by September 2025. The deal also has Ontario creating 86,000 child-care spaces, though that number includes more than 15,000 spaces already created since 2019. Ontario also got a commitment of $2.9 billion for year six of the deal.


Quebec reached a deal last summer with the federal government that will allow the province to opt out of national child care but receive its share of the funding for the program. Ottawa agreed to transfer $6 billion to the province over five years and didn’t impose any conditions on the money, which could be used anyway Quebec’s government choses. Quebec Premier François Legault has said the province invests about $2.7 billion annually for its daycare program, which costs parents $8.50 a day per child. The provincial government estimates another 37,000 subsidized spaces are needed in the system. Legault has said the deal with Ottawa includes an understanding that the federal government will continue transferring money for daycare after 2026.


New Brunswick announced in December it had signed a child-care deal with Ottawa that will grant it $491 million to create 5,700 new spaces at an average cost to parents of $10 per day by 2026 and increase the wages of daycare workers. Premier Blaine Higgs said the agreement will offer families yearly savings of $3,000 on average. Under the deal, the wages of early childhood educators would increase over five years to $23.47 per hour.


Nova Scotia inked a deal with Ottawa shortly before last summer’s provincial election. The $605-million agreement aims to create a total of 9,500 new, regulated early learning and child-care spaces by the 2025-26 fiscal year. The province said it will contribute $40 million over the five-year agreement in addition to its current child-care program spending. In February, Nova Scotia child-care providers were offered funding to help offset a 25 per cent reduction in fees due to the deal. Becky Druhan, minister of education and early childhood development, said the money included $35 million from the previously announced $605-million federal deal and a new $1-million grant from the province.


The Island signed a deal with Ottawa last July, under which it will receive $120 million for $10-dollar-a-day child-care spots by the end of 2024. The deal will also cut average child-care fees in half by the end of 2022 for children under six and create more than 450 new spots in the province within two years. Premier Dennis King said he recognized the spaces wouldn’t be enough for all of the province’s children, but he said other plans to create more spaces would be announced at a later date.


Newfoundland and Labrador signed a deal with Ottawa last July for $347 million over five years to create about 6,000 new child-care spaces. Under the deal, the province will see a reduction in average parent fees for children under six in regulated child care to $15 a day from $25 a day in 2022, and to $10 a day in 2023. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced the deal came with "a new full-day, year-round pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds" that will start rolling out in 2023.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2022. 

The Canadian Press

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