Canada implements national child care program
Steph Deschamps / March 29, 2022
Justin Trudeau's Canadian government finalized Monday, with the signature of the province of Ontario, a national child care program that will eventually allow parents to pay an average of 10 Canadian dollars a day (a little more than 7 euros) for child care. The Prime Minister, with a baby in his arms in front of the media, called the agreement a historic moment on Monday. Parents, especially mothers, should not have to choose between family and career, he said.
The establishment of this national child care system, in particular to facilitate access to the labour market for women, was one of the priority issues of Justin Trudeau's government re-elected last September. A year ago, we said we would establish a national system to make child care more affordable and accessible across Canada. Today, we are delivering on that promise, he added.
Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was the only one that had not yet signed the agreement. The agreement will reduce child care costs for children under six by an average of 25 per cent as of April 1. That's an average savings of about 2,200 Canadian dollars per child (about 1,600 euros), the federal government and the province of Ontario say. And by the end of March 2026, families in Ontario, where child care costs are among the highest in Canada, will have access to child care spaces for an average of $10 a day. This will create 86,000 new child care spaces.
Women in Canada, as in many countries around the world, have been the biggest losers in the Covid-19 recession and access to a child care program is seen as a key element in their return to work by the Trudeau government.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called it a fundamentally feminist jobs and growth plan to counter a feminist recession a year ago when she launched the child care program. In Canada, only Quebec has had public child care centers at affordable rates for all families for the past 20 years, thanks to then Quebec Premier Pauline Marois.