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Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen speaks during a press conference in Ottawa on Oct. 27, 2020.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Families Minister Ahmed Hussen says it will be mostly up to the provinces and territories how to spend hundreds of millions in new funding on their child-care workforce.

The Liberals unveiled the $420-million promise in last month’s economic statement, saying the money would be available to help lower levels of government train and retain early childhood educators.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Hussen says the money is strictly for efforts related to the child-care workforce, but specifics will be subject to negotiations.

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That would mean provincial needs would determine how many staff get retained through wage increases, or students trained through the help of bursaries.

Hussen says the federal money is a first step toward an ambitious promise to create a national child-care system.

He says talks toward that end will start over the coming months at the same time negotiations push ahead on funding arrangements set to expire in March for existing child-care dollars.

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