Trudeau’s latest pre-budget commitment targets millennial moms, promising $1 billion in loans for more child care spaces

The federal government is launching a new loan program to help child care providers in Canada expand their spaces and will expand student loan forgiveness and training options for early childhood educators, the prime minister announced Thursday. Justin Trudeau.

The prime minister unveiled a trio of child care-focused commitments that will be included in the next federal budget, aiming to open more $10-a-day child care spaces across the country, as the Liberals continue to work to achieve it. creating 250,000 new spaces by March 2026.

Specifically, the Liberals have pledged to offer $1 billion in low-cost loans and $60 million in non-repayable grants to public and nonprofit child care providers so they can build or renovate their care centers.

This funding will be administered through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMCH), which Trudeau called “a common sense approach that will help child care develop alongside housing.”

An additional $48 million is being allocated over the next four years to extend student loan forgiveness (similar to the program offered to rural doctors and nurses) to early childhood educators, in an effort to encourage more teachers to work in smaller communities .

The federal government is also pledging $10 million over the next two years to train more early childhood educators.

The prime minister, speaking in Surrey, British Columbia, alongside the minister currently leading the file, Jenna Sudds, touted bilateral child care agreements in place across the country to get thousands of children placed in affordable spaces.

However, in recent months, Canadian parents and care providers have been sounding the alarm about increasingly long waitlists at daycares. And operators in some provinces have threatened to withdraw from the lower-cost program because they are struggling to make ends meet.

Trudeau said that while the government has funded 100,000 spaces so far and is aware of the challenges of implementing this new national program, not enough families have access and not all provinces are moving as quickly as they should.

“I want to take a moment to talk to young moms, many of you millennials. You’ve grown up with so many pressures in this economy, the 2008 recession, COVID, climate change… and we want to make sure that everyone, especially moms who raise children, have the best opportunity to succeed and prosper,” Trudeau said.

“As Canada grows, as families grow, we want to ensure that more children can access high-quality child care… That’s what fairness for every generation is all about.”

The prime minister also got political, accusing conservative leader Pierre Poilievre of opposing the program, even though the official opposition voted in favor of a recently passed Liberal law aimed at enshrining in law a commitment to early learning and care. children throughout Canada. and the long-term financing necessary to maintain it.

Reacting to the news, NDP MP and children, families and social development critic Leah Gazan said the announcement was a “direct result of advocacy” by her party, care workers, unions and advocacy organizations. women.

He also singled out conservatives, accusing them of trying to cripple the program and promote a “private, for-profit system that parents can’t afford.”

Liberal pre-budget strategy

Similar to Wednesday’s release of pre-Budget news focused on justice for tenants, Cabinet ministers are echoing the announcements of new childcare affordability measures across the country on Thursday. the afternoon.

This is all part of a new communications strategy the Liberals are employing in the run-up to the release of the federal budget on April 16.

Virtually every day between now and the time Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland releases the massive economic document, the Liberals are expected to take out bits and pieces of the budget.

In an effort to expand his ability to market the measures it contains, Trudeau and members of his cabinet will unveil new initiatives over the next two weeks, to the point that the vast majority of the budget will be public before budget day. .

Governments have traditionally withheld budget news – barring some pre-presentation leaks – for the day the document is tabled in the House of Commons after a day-long closure of reporters and stakeholders.

Kicking off this strategy on Wednesday, Trudeau posted a video on social media platforms indicating that the overarching theme for the 2024 budget will be “generational justice,” a message intended to target millennials and Generation Z.

“When I first decided to run for office, one of my biggest motivations was to work to create a Canada that young people saw as themselves… As prime minister, I never lost sight of that,” Trudeau said in the clip.

“You, as a young Canadian, are the heartbeat of our economy. You drive our growth and deserve an economy that gives you a fair chance to succeed. But this moment in which we are all living presents great challenges… So “Let’s roll up our sleeves and work like hell. And we’ll tell you what we’re doing to fix it over the next two weeks.”

While Trudeau’s 2015 election victory was attributed in part to a historic increase in the number of young people going to the polls, Poilievre has been undermining that Liberal voting bloc of people 43 and younger, seeking to appeal to their struggles current to get ahead. his arguments about “powerful salaries” and housing affordability.

In November 2023, Trudeau named Max Valiquette, a marketing guru who describes himself as an expert in understanding younger generations, as his new executive director of communications.

“We are witnessing a different communication strategy from the government. They are implementing something they have not tried before. We are not going to have a budget day on April 16. We are going to have budget days from now until April 16” said political commentator Scott Reid in an interview on CTV News Channel.

“Frankly, this government knows it needs to move forward, it knows it needs to connect with Canadians… Is it going to change the polls overnight? No. Could they get a little bit more viewership than they otherwise would have had?” way? Have you been? Probably.”

With files from Vassy Kapelos and Annie Bergeron-Oliver of CTV News

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