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Federal government investing $625 million in child care

Friday, July 24, 2020 @ 1:26 PM | By Ian Burns

Ottawa has pledged to invest $625 million in Canada’s child care sector to help ensure that enough spaces are available as parents begin to gradually return to work after being at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen made the announcement July 24. He said the availability of affordable, high-quality and flexible child care “will be key to ensuring Canadian parents can return to work and our economy can recover from this crisis.”

“The government is committed to supporting the child care sector to ensure all Canadian families will have access to the quality child care they need,” he said.

The investment means the federal government will be putting almost $1.2 billion towards child care in 2020-21. The funding will be distributed to the provinces and territories based on the existing allocation formula used for the early learning and child care bilateral agreements.

“The early years of a child's life are critical to their overall health and well-being,” said Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance Mona Fortier. “As we begin to safely restart our economy and approach recovery, access to safe and affordable child care is essential to ensuring Canadian parents are able to return to work, and children are able to return to the enriching environments they need to succeed.”

The money, which is being invested as part of the safe restart agreement, will help address the key priorities agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six to eight months.

But despite the focus on bringing the economy back from the pandemic, Health Minister Patty Hajdu emphasized COVID-19 has not gone away and said she was concerned with the growth in cases in several parts of the country, with most new cases among young people. She noted the government has developed a risk assessment tool which will soon be linked to its COVID-19 app.

“Canadians have come so far together, and we can continue to protect each other in our new normal. Whenever possible we have to choose less contract, safer contact and smaller spaces,” she said. “Your decisions about your risk affects everyone close to you too.”

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