New bill coming on Canadian early learning and child care

The federal government appears to be on the verge of presenting new legislation aimed at strengthening Canada’s early learning and child-care system.

On Thursday at 11 am ET, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould will be making what her office is calling a “national announcement” on this topic.

Preceding Gould’s Ottawa announcement, officials from the Department of Employment and Social Development Canada will be briefing reporters on the incoming new measures.

This comes as Gould has given notice to the House of Commons that she will soon be presenting a bill titled: “An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada.”

While the government won’t share the details of the bill until it’s tabled, it was in Gould’s mandate letter to bring forward “federal child care legislation to strengthen and protect a high-quality Canada-wide child-care system.”

In a March interview with The Canadian Press, Gould indicated that the legislation would enshrine a role for the federal government in the daycare system and would put into law principles such as creating more spaces, that the provinces and territories agreed to through their funding agreements.

On Tuesday in the House of Commons NDP MP Leah Gazan questioned Gould on the status of this commitment.

“For decades advocates have called to nationalize early learning and child care. However, we still do not have legislation in place that ensures long-term protected funding for child care that prioritizes the expansion of non-profit and public service delivery. Families deserve access to high-quality, affordable child care now. When will the Liberals introduce this important legislation?” Gazan asked.

Introducing this legislation before the end of the year was a commitment baked into the Liberal-NDP deal. The pledge was to ensure that the child-care agreements “have long-term protected funding” and deliver “high quality, affordable” options for families.

In response to Gazan, the minister pointed to the early learning and affordable child-care deals that have been rolled out across the country, touting that the Liberals have “reduced fees by 50 per cent from coast to coast to coast.”

“I am looking forward to introducing legislation soon to make sure we keep early learning and child care… for Canadians for all time,” she said.

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