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GATINEAU, QC, March 26, 2021 /CNW/ - 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 families in Northwest Territories, 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 Northwest Territories 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 Northwest Territories' Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson, announced over $2.4 million in federal funding for early learning and child care investments in Northwest Territories for 2020–2021.
This additional support for early learning and child care is made through the one-year Canada–Northwest Territories Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. Specifically, Northwest Territories is focused on improving the quality of programs through culturally appropriate professional training opportunities and improving access to early learning and child care, particularly in small communities and for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This agreement builds on the shared commitments made in the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and outlines Northwest Territories' 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 Northwest Territories 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 territory 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 Northwest Territories 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."
– Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories, Michael V. McLeod
"There is a collective benefit in investing and supporting young children and their families. Supports provided now will benefit future generations in Northwest Territories (NWT), as today's young children will grow to become tomorrow's healthy, productive and capable citizens that are able to share their skills, talents and services. Expanding the availability of early learning and child care opportunities requires the need for partnerships and collaborative efforts like this, to meet the unique needs of families with young children throughout NWT."
– Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, R.J. Simpson
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 that is 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 subsidize before- and after-school care.
The Government of Canada will also invest $420 million in 2021–22 to support the recruitment and retention of early childhood educators across Canada.
The Government of Northwest Territories' action plan is focused on fostering the development of high-quality, culturally relevant early learning and child care environments, supporting the professional development of staff in licensed care settings, increasing the number of early childhood educators and supporting access to child care by meeting the individual needs of communities.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2021/26/c5338.html