Child care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the real social and economic challenges faced by Island families, particularly with children staying home and parents being unable to return to the workforce.
That’s why the Government of Canada and the Government of Prince Edward Island are working together to ensure families have access to the affordable, high-quality and safe early learning and child care opportunities their children need to succeed.
Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen; and Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Natalie Jameson, announced over $3.5 million in federal funding for early learning and child care investments in Prince Edward Island for 2020–2021.
This additional support for early learning and child care is made through the one-year Canada–Prince Edward Island Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. Specifically, Prince Edward Island will focus on increasing the number of child care spaces available to families, including those with parents who work non-standard hours, for children with unique needs and abilities, and investing in training and quality enhancement grants to support early childhood educators.
This agreement builds on the shared commitments made in the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and outlines Prince Edward Island’s unique child care needs and priorities, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will ensure funding continues to be available to support child care programs and services for Prince Edward Island families this year.
“Every child deserves the best possible start in life. High-quality accessible and inclusive early learning experiences are essential to the intellectual, emotional and physical development of our children. Our government is working hard to ensure that all children and families in the province have equal access to the quality early learning and child care they need to succeed.”
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen
“Families in Prince Edward Island need access to safe, affordable early learning and child care now, more than ever. The Government of Canada is proud to invest in our child care systems to ensure all children get the best possible start in life.”
– Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown
“High-quality early learning and child care experiences are the essential foundation for successful lifelong learning. Prince Edward Island is a leader in early learning and child care and our partnership with the Government of Canada will support us as we continue to create accessible and affordable child care options while supporting the unique needs of Island children and families.”
– Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning for Prince Edward Island, Natalie Jameson
The federal government entered into bilateral agreements with all provinces and territories to provide them with $1.2 billion over three years for early learning and child care programs, starting in 2017–18.
These important investments in early learning and child care helped to create just over 40,000 more affordable child care spaces nationally prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The federal government has now finalized one-year bilateral agreements with each of the provinces and territories, providing them with a total of $400 million in 2020–21. This funding will continue to support the early learning and child care sector and will build on the success of the previous agreements.
Going forward, the Government of Canada is committed to making a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and child care system and to subsidizing before- and after-school care. The Government of Prince Edward Island co-chairs this work.
In its Fall Economic Statement in November 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it will also invest $420 million in 2021–22 to support the recruitment and retention of early childhood educators across Canada.
The Government of Prince Edward Island’s action plan focuses on creating new child care spaces across the province, including for parents who work non-standard hours and for children with unique needs and abilities. The Government of Prince Edward Island also offers training and quality enhancement grants to support early childhood educators.