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Education Minister Jeanie McLean

Federal minister brings $10.5 million for child care system

Gudie Hutchings, the federal minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, helped unveil $10.5 million to further meet the needs of the child care system on Monday in Whitehorse.

By Whitehorse Star on May 14, 2024

Gudie Hutchings, the federal minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, helped unveil $10.5 million to further meet the needs of the child care system on Monday in Whitehorse.

She was joined by Jeanie McLean, the Yukon’s Education minister and the minister responsible for the Women and Gender Equity Directorate.

The $10.5 million will be spent over four years.

From it, $7.7 million will help build more inclusive child care spaces across the Yukon through the federal $625-million Early Learning and Child Care Infrastructure Fund.

The Yukon has already far exceeded the shared goal of building 110 new child care spaces by 2026.

Through this Fund, all provinces and territories will be able to make further investments in child care, so more families can save up to $14,300 on child care every year, per child, Employment and Social Development Canada said in a statement.

“Every child deserves the best start in life. But for young families, including Millennial and Gen Z parents, the costs of child care can add up to a second rent or mortgage payment,” the sttement said.

“This makes it harder to start and support a family, and as a result, parents—especially moms—often face impossible choices between their careers and child care fees.”

Fairness for every generation, the statement continues “means ensuring parents, especially moms, do not have to choose between a career and starting a family.

“The government is taking action to make life cost less for young families and to build a Canada where every generation can get ahead.”

All provinces and territories are offering or are on track to offer $10-a-day regulated child care.

That has been made possible by nearly $40 billion in federal support since 2016, including the transformative investment of nearly $30 billion in the 2021 federal budget.

Women’s labour force participation is now at a record-high of 85.7 per cent, “meaning more families are bringing home more income and contributing to Canada’s economic growth, while saving thousands of dollars on child care every year.

“But more families need access to affordable child care.”

The spending is designed to support families in rural and remote communities, as well as families in communities that face barriers to access, such as racialized groups, Indigenous Peoples, newcomers, official language minority communities, and children, parents and employees with disabilities.

“Expanding affordable child care for Yukon families gives working moms or dads a chance to work and save thousands of dollars each year, too,” Hutchings said.

“This investment today will mean more child care options for more Yukon families, everywhere in the territory.”

Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, said the government is “working with provinces and territories to build more spaces across the country, so that more families can access affordable child care and save thousands of dollars every year.”

“Every family should have access to high-quality, inclusive child care,” added Jenna Sudds, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

“More child care spaces mean more high-quality spots for kids, and more relief for parents as they access affordable child care.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to working with the Government of Yukon so children in Canada have the best possible start in life.”

McLean said the Yukon government “values our ongoing collaboration with the Government of Canada and its dedication to improving child care options for Yukon families.

“This new fund will further empower us to increase the number of child care spaces and ensure that these spaces meet the highest standards.”

The funding, McLean added, “continues our commitment to making life more affordable for Yukoners, particularly for community members in remote and rural areas.

“With this support, we can enhance our infrastructure in ways that align directly with the needs of all communities across the territory.

“We are grateful for this funding and look forward to seeing first-hand its positive impacts on Yukon families.”

To date, eight provinces and territories are delivering regulated child care for an average of $10-a-day or less, including Quebec and the Yukon, which achieved this prior to the Canada-wide system.

In all other provinces and territories, fees for regulated child care have been reduced by at least 50 per cent on average.

Provinces and territories are working toward lowering fees for regulated child care to $10-a-day on average by March 2026.

Canada-wide early learning and child care is saving families, per child, up to $7,300 in the Yukon, $9,120 in the Northwest Territories, $14,300 in Nunavut, $6,000 in Nova Scotia, $13,700 a year in Alberta, $8,500 in Ontario, $6,900 in Saskatchewan, $6,600 in British Columbia, $6,300 in Newfoundland and Labrador, $4,170 in Prince Edward Island, $3,600 in New Brunswick, and $2,610 in Manitoba,

Alongside provinces and territories, Ottawa has also announced more than 100,000 new spaces, well on the way to reaching the goal of creating 250,000 new spaces by March 2026.

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