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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes a housing announcement on March 27, 2024. Image: CPAC video capture

Feds announce three initiatives to make child care more affordable and accessible

By Jacob Moore Mar 28, 2024 | 6:21 PM

The Canadian government announced it would spend more than a billion dollars on multiple initiatives for early childhood education.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says this will help more families access affordable child care.

“Affordable child care gives moms and dads the opportunity to build their careers, helps families save money, and gives kids the best start to life,” writes Trudeau in a news release.

The prime minister made the announcement on Thursday in Surrey, B.C.

The new spending will be part of the federal government’s 2024 budget. The budget will be tabled on April 16.

The government announced three initiatives across the country.

Expanding loans and grants

The government says they will spend $1 billion on low-cost loans and $60 million on non-repayable grants. Public and not-for-profit child-care providers may use that money to build new spaces or to renovate existing ones.

Student loan forgiveness

Over four years, the government says it will spend $48 million on increasing student loan forgiveness for early childhood educators in rural or remote areas. The loan forgiveness will increase the longer an educator works in an area.

“This will encourage educators to work in smaller communities and help families get the child care they need,” the release says.

More training

Over two years, $10 million will go to training more early childhood educators to “build up the talent needed for the expansion of affordable” child care, the government says.

“With today’s new action to build more affordable spaces and attract and train more early childhood educators, we are helping more families across Canada access affordable child care and save thousands of dollars every year,” writes Chrystia Freeland, minister of finance, in the release.

British Columbia child care

The Prime Minister also announced some measures for British Columbia.

The federal government will give the province $69.9 million to create new child-care facilities and to “support inclusive child care services across the province.”

Over 930 child-care spaces will start using the province’s $10 a day program in the spring, according to the provincial government.

That means the province exceeded their goal of making 15,000 child-care spaces $10 a day by the spring, according to the release.

$10 a day child care

More than half of the county’s provinces and territories have started charging $10 a day for child care in some facilities. The government says provinces and territories are working to charge $10 a day on average by March 2026.

Quebec and the Yukon were charging $10 a day on average before the Canada-wide system was created. However, the government says child care has been reduced by at least 50 per cent in all the other provinces and territories.