Written by

Statement by Century Initiative in response to Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada

March 19, 2024

The federal government has achieved a significant milestone in Canada's journey towards building a comprehensive nationwide early learning and child care system. As of March 2024, Bill C-35, An Act respecting early learning and child care in Canada, has been officially enshrined in law, marking a pivotal moment in our collective efforts to support families and children across the country. 

One of the most encouraging developments in this process has been the substantial reduction in child care fees witnessed in many provinces. This positive trend signifies a tangible step towards making quality child care more accessible to Canadian families. 

Century Initiative firmly believes that robust systems for early childhood education and care play a vital role in enhancing children's well-being and fostering their learning and development. Moreover, these systems are instrumental in facilitating the participation of parents, particularly mothers, in the workforce, thereby promoting economic empowerment and family stability, two crucial components of Canada’s long-term strength and prosperity.

In addition to supporting parental employment, accessible child care options also play an important role in empowering Canadians to make informed choices regarding their family size and in assisting newcomer families in their transition to Canada.

However, as demand for child care services continues to rise due to the reduction in fees, challenges in securing a spot for children have become increasingly prevalent across the nation. One significant barrier to expanding regulated child care spaces is the shortage of qualified educators needed to meet the growing demand.

We acknowledge that certain segments of our population face even greater challenges in accessing regulated child care services. These barriers disproportionately affect newcomers, individuals with disabilities, low-income families, racialized communities, and Indigenous peoples, highlighting the urgent need for inclusive and equitable solutions.

As we celebrate the progress made thus far, it is crucial to remain committed to addressing the existing challenges and disparities in the child care landscape. By working collaboratively with stakeholders at all levels, we can build a more inclusive, accessible, and high-quality early learning and child care system that benefits all Canadians.

Together, let's continue our journey towards a brighter future for our children and families, where every child has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.