Every child deserves the best possible start in life, and all parents should have the ability to build both a family and a career. That’s why the Government of Canada signed agreements with each province and territory to implement a Canada-wide early learning and child care system.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould celebrated the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.
As part of the agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan, the Government of Canada is providing nearly $1.1 billion over five years to help improve regulated early learning and child care for children under 6 years of age in the province. Through these investments, the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are working together to improve access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services, with the goal of ensuring that Saskatchewan families have access to regulated child care for an average of $10-a-day by March 31, 2026.
Through the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement, Saskatchewan has already achieved a 50% reduction in average parent fees for regulated child care spaces for children under 6 years of age, retroactive to July 1, 2021. Starting September 1, 2022, parent fees for regulated child care will be further reduced, to an average of 70% compared to March 2021 levels. These fee reductions means families in Saskatchewan are already saving up to an estimated average of $3,910 annually per child, and could save an average of approximately $5,220 a year per child once fees reach an average of $10-a-day. These are significant milestones, and the province is on track to reach an average of $10-a-day early learning and child care fees by March 2026.
The province is also increasing the supply of early learning and child care spaces and has already created more than 1,800 new licensed not-for-profit child care facility spaces in many rural and urban Saskatchewan communities over the past year. These spaces are part of the goal to create 28,000 new regulated child care spaces for children aged 0 to 5 by March 31, 2026. These new child care spaces will be created in regulated not-for-profit child care centres, small child care facilities and family-based child care providers. As work is being done to expand the number of child care spaces, Saskatchewan has also provided grants to regulated child care facilities to assist them in recruiting and retaining qualified early childhood educators, which is key to the success of a high-quality child care system.
The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan will monitor progress on early learning and child care commitments in consultation with stakeholders.
Building an early learning and child care system that works for all families in every region of the country is a key part of the plan to make life more affordable for families while creating good jobs and growing the economy. Nearly all of Canada’s provinces and territories, including Saskatchewan, have already seen reductions in child care fees, and, by the end of 2022, average fees for regulated early learning and child care spaces will be cut in half across the country.