Three national Indigenous organizations will receive a combined $1.7 billion to spend on child care over the coming decade under an agreement announced on Monday.
The 10-year funding comes from a pot of $7 billion the federal Liberals had set aside for early learning and child care initiatives, with the remainder being given to provinces and territories.
Funding will slowly rise from about $500 million annually to $870 million by 2026 to fund daycare spaces in provinces and territories, as well as for Indigenous child care on and off reserve.
The Liberals are promising that dollars for Indigenous child care will start flowing to communities this fiscal year, which ends in March 2019.
The government’s 2017 budget promised an undisclosed amount of money for Indigenous child care, but only after finalizing a framework for how the money could be used.
Work on the framework took most of the last year, and is based on cross-country consultations with Indigenous groups.
A key focus for any child care on reserve funded with federal dollars is to ensure services are based on a strong cultural identity.
First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities are also agreeing that child care services are accessible and inclusive for families regardless of where they live.
The government says the child care framework is consistent with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.