In pre-budget charm offensive, Trudeau announces plans to expand $10-a-day child care

The Canadian Press

Published on Thursday, March 28, 2024 2:31 pmEDT

Last updated Thursday, March 28, 2024 3:08 pmEDT

SURREY, BC – The federal government’s pre-budget charm offensive returns for the second day in a row, this time targeting parents and child care providers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday in Surrey, British Columbia, that the government plans to provide more than $1 billion in low-cost loans, grants and student loan forgiveness to expand child care across Canada.

Trudeau said the funding is part of the Liberal government’s effort to regain support among younger voters and middle-class families.

“This is a completely new program that we are building because, as a government, we decided and knew that access to high-quality, affordable child care was important across the country, not only so that children could get the best start in life. life, not only because it contributes to our economic growth, but because families, especially mothers, should not have to choose between a career and starting a family.

The prime minister said the money will be lent directly to public and non-profit child care providers through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to expand their spaces or for projects such as new centers built next to public housing.

An additional $60 million will be set aside for non-refundable grants for eligible child care centers to build new spaces or renovate them, he said.

The government will also offer student loan forgiveness to early childhood educators in rural and remote areas and another $10 million over two years to bolster their ranks with additional training.

Funding for more affordable child care spaces is an extension of the government’s $10-a-day child care program agreed to by all provinces and territories.

Trudeau acknowledged during the announcement that not all provincial governments are moving “as quickly or as responsibly as they should” on the $10-a-day program.

“We will continue to work constructively with all provinces, but we recognize that because federal Conservatives are consistently opposed to child care, Conservative premiers are in some cases walking slowly and in others falling short, because they are listening to their federal brothers.”

Daycare operators in some provinces have threatened to withdraw from the national system, saying federal-provincial agreements limit the fees they can charge and do not cover their costs.

Child care groups in Alberta and Ontario have said the burden of offering low-cost care is falling on operators.

Trudeau said his government will hold those provinces accountable after they accept funding.

“But this billion dollars in investment in child care is going to make a huge difference in the number of spaces across the country,” he said.

On Wednesday, Trudeau kicked off the pre-budget tour by detailing a $15 million fund and bill of rights to better protect tenants who rent their homes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

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