Budget 2024: Ottawa boosts investment in childcare

Feds also forgiving student loans to attract, retain educators in small communities

Budget 2024: Ottawa boosts investment in childcare

Ahead of the official release of the federal government’s Budget 2024, Ottawa is making commitments to increase investment to provide more childcare benefits for Canadian workers.

Ottawa is providing $1 billion in low-cost loans and $60 million in non-repayable grants to help public and not-for-profit child care providers build new spaces and renovate their existing child care centres.

“This means more resources for child care providers and more affordable child care options for families,” said the government.

The $10-a-day child care is now a reality in Nova Scotia and Northwest Territories, among other provinces and territories in Canada.

Student loan forgiveness to attract, retain educators

Under Budget 2024, the federal government is also adding $48 million over four years into student loan forgiveness funds to encourage educators to work in smaller communities. This will help attract and retain educators, according to the government.

In February, in hopes of addressing healthcare worker shortages in some parts of Canada, the federal government announced it is increasing loan forgiveness by 50% for doctors and nurses working in under-served rural and remote communities.

Ottawa is also investing $10 million over two years to train more early childhood educators, and build up “the talent needed for the expansion of affordable, high-quality child care,” said the government.

"Affordable child care gives moms and dads the opportunity to build their careers, helps families save money, and gives kids the best start to life,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“That's why in Budget 2024, we're taking action to build more child care spaces, hire more early childhood educators, give them more training, and work with provinces like British Columbia to make sure families get the comfort and security they deserve. Fairness is making sure we support each other and build a better future – that's what affordable child care is all about."

$10-a-day childcare in B.C.

Ottawa is also providing British Columbia with $69.9 million to create new child care spaces and support inclusive child care services across the province.

Meanwhile, the provincial government announced that over 930 child care spaces are moving into the province's $10 a Day ChildCareBC program this spring, which will save families an average of $920 a month per child.

That means that the province has met – and exceeded – its target of bringing the number of $10 a Day ChildCareBC spaces to 15,000 by this spring, according to the federal government.

Across the country, over 750,000 kids are already benefiting from affordable, high-quality child care, with some families saving up to $14,000 per child, per year, noted Ottawa.

Late in 2021, Ottawa announced its goal of reaching an average of $10 per day childcare by 2026 everywhere outside of Quebec. In partnership with provinces and territories, the federal government has also announced over 100,000 new spaces, closing in on the goal of creating 250,000 new spaces by March 2026.

Over the past years, the federal government has come into $10-a-day childcare agreements with Alberta, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Three in 10 (30%) employees born in the late 1990s and early 2000s consider childcare benefits as the most important factor in considering whether to stay in their current role, according to a previous report.

Ottawa is releasing its Budget 2024 on April 16.

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