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Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are Improving Quality, Accessibility and Affordability of Early Learning and Child Care for Families

Released on March 16, 2018

Governments Sign a Bilateral Agreement

The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are making significant investments in early learning and child care systems to help children be safe and healthy and develop to their full potential in strong families and supportive communities.

Today, Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, on behalf of Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and Education Minister Gordon Wyant, announced a three-year bilateral agreement that reaffirms their commitment to and support of the unique early learning and child care needs of Saskatchewan families, such as increasing demand for affordable and quality child care spaces, and opportunities for children with disabilities, newcomers to Canada and Francophone families.

The agreement allocates just over $41 million, over three years, toward accessibility, inclusivity and quality in early learning and child care.

The investment will support:
  • establishing and expanding access to new licensed child care spaces;
  • enhancing the quality of early learning and child care experiences for children;
  • inclusive early learning opportunities for preschool-aged children who require intensive supports; and
  • expanding Francophone early learning and child care for French language minority communities.

These resources aim to benefit families with unique needs, such as families with children with disabilities, those living in remote and rural communities, Indigenous families, newcomers to Canada and single parents.  This announcement follows a historic agreement, made on June 12, 2017, by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Early Learning and Child Care on a Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework.

The Framework sets the foundation for governments to work toward a shared long-term vision where all children across Canada can experience the enriching environment of quality early learning and child care.  The Framework principles include increasing the quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity of early learning and child care, with consideration for families that need child care the most.

By taking care of our children today, we’re growing and strengthening the middle class for years to come.  The bilateral agreement is supported by long-term Government of Canada investments in early learning and child care announced in Budgets 2016 and 2017, totalling $7.5 billion over 11 years, and is another step to help ensure that Saskatchewan children get the best start in life.

“The Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments play an essential role and offer funding to support families’ needs in early learning and child care,” said Duclos.  “All children, especially vulnerable children, benefit from investments in this field because they can grow within families and communities that meet their physical and developmental needs.  It is our responsibility to improve the lives of Canadian families and children together, and the agreement signed today brings us closer to our goal.”

“Every child, across our country, deserves quality early learning and child care,” said Goodale.  “These investments will help us lay a solid foundation on which we can work together to build a high-quality, flexible, inclusive and affordable early learning and child care system.”

“Nurturing a child’s potential starts in the earliest years of their life,” Wyant said.  “When children have quality early learning experiences, they develop a foundation for education, leading to more success in school and far beyond.  Today’s investment in early learning and child care will support our ongoing work to see every child in our province get the start in life they deserve.  I look forward to seeing these investments make a difference in the lives of Saskatchewan children and their families.” 

Quick Facts:
  • Federal Budgets 2016 and 2017 proposed to invest $7.5 billion over 11 years, starting in 2017–18, to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country, particularly for families more in need.
Of this investment:
    • $95 million will go toward closing data gaps to better understand child care challenges and needs and track progress;
    • $100 million will go toward early learning and child care innovation; anda portion will be dedicated to strengthening culturally appropriate early learning and child care for Indigenous children.
  • The federal government is working with each province and territory to enter into three-year bilateral agreements that will address the early learning and child care needs unique to its jurisdiction and funding allocation.  Bilateral agreements with nine other provinces and territories have been announced: British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Yukon.
  • Through the bilateral agreements, the Government of Canada will provide provinces and territories with $1.2 billion over the next three years for early learning and child care programs.  Governments will report annually on progress made in relation to the Framework and bilateral agreements.
  • A separate Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework is being co-developed with Indigenous partners to reflect the unique cultures and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families.
  • Saskatchewan’s action plan identifies key priority areas for investment, over three years, aligning with the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework.
They are:
    • providing new inclusive early learning opportunities for at least 220 preschool-aged children who require intensive supports.
    • improving accessibility by creating up to 2,515 new child care spaces;
    • expanding Francophone early learning and child care opportunities;

Enhancing the quality of early learning and child care by:

      • training early childhood educators, licensed family child care home providers and child care centre directors;
      • implementing Play and Exploration: Early Learning Program Guide, supporting up to 16,000 children, in licensed child care centres and licensed child care homes;
      • supporting young children to be more physically active by implementing developmentally appropriate programs in licensed child care centres and licensed child care homes; and
      • targeting opportunities for children with limited access to early learning programs to improve literacy skills among preschool-aged children.

Associated Link:

For more information, contact:

Émilie Gauduchon-Campbell
Office of Jean-Yves Duclos
Phone: 819-654-5546

Matthew Glover
Phone: 306-787-9501
Cell: 306-529-8160

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Phone: 819-994-5559

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