Saskatchewan signs on to federal government’s $10-a-day child-care plan
REGINA — Saskatchewan is signing on to the federal government’s plan to implement $10-a-day child care for families.
“A child-care centre is as important to our economy, it is as much a piece of critical infrastructure, as a bridge, a road and a grain elevator,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in Regina on Friday.
Freeland said the Liberal government is committing nearly $1.1 billion to Saskatchewan over the next five years.
The $10-a-day child care is to be implemented by the end of 2026, and a 50 per cent reduction in fees is expected by the end of next year. The funds will also help create 28,000 new regulated early learning and child-care spaces.
Freeland said the closing of schools and child-care centres due to the COVID-19 pandemic drove women’s participation in the labour force down to its lowest level in two decades.
She said affordable child care will support women returning to work and help the economy recover.
Federal officials have been travelling the country in recent weeks, announcing agreements with some provinces and territories to create a national child-care system.
With Saskatchewan signing on, Freeland said it means nearly half of Canadian children will be affected by the deal. Saskatchewan’s government is the eighth to join and third conservative-led province in the group.
Canada has already signed child-care deals with Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Federal officials have said increased wages for educators is a sticking point for some of the jurisdictions that are still in negotiations.
Saskatchewan has committed to creating a wage grid that officials said will ensure early childhood educators are well paid. Saskatchewan Education Minister Dustin Duncan said wages need to reflect the hard work educators do.