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Feds announce $625M for child-care spaces as economy reopens

It’s not yet known how much of the total $625 million will be given to each province
Richmond News file photo

The federal government has announced new funding to support childcare in B.C. and across Canada as the economy reopens.

Overall, $625 million will be provided to provinces and territories to provide child care spaces, part of the $19 billion set aside by Ottawa for the country’s Safe Restart Agreement, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough announced Friday at Richmond Olympic Oval.

The funding will allow provinces to ensure there are safe childcare spaces available as parents begin to return to work.

“Of course, getting Canadians back to work isn’t as simple as reopening businesses following shutdowns and providing employees with personal protective equipment,” said Qualtrough, who is the MP for Delta.

“Many parents can’t get back to work until they can find safe childcare for their children.”

However, it’s not yet known how much of the total $625 million will be given to each province.

“We haven’t broken it down yet exactly to the dollar per province…because it’s part of the broader conversation on the entire $19 billion,” said Qualtrough.

Provincial and territorial totals will be provided at a later date, she said.

Qualtrough said that the temporary closures due to COVID-19, and the resulting loss of revenue from parents’ fees, had put “great strain” on the early learning and childcare sector across the country.

Overall, the federal government is spending nearly $1.2 billion on that sector this year, which Qualtrough said is a “record amount.”

The funding should also pass down to families, she said.

Once provided with the funding, provincial and territorial governments will fund childcare providers, so that they can provide their services safely, such as through personal protective equipment or enlarging spaces so children can be more spread out.

“And then they will fund the organizations to provide this (childcare) opportunity at a less expensive cost, (which) will be a condition of this funding, to families. The idea is to pass down the savings to each family.”

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