Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Children's backpacks and shoes at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., in 2018.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

The federal government plans to strike individual deals with each province and territory as part of a national child-care program and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said provincial contributions will vary based on the level of service they are already providing.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Ms. Freeland said Ottawa is open to hearing from provinces about their needs, but the talks will focus on the specific service goals outlined in the federal budget released Monday.

“Although Canada is very, very diverse in the provision of early learning and child care – and pretty much everything else – our goals are now national,” she said at a news conference with Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.

Story continues below advertisement

“And what we’re saying is every Canadian parent, five years from now, everywhere in the country, should have access to affordable, high-quality, early learning and child care for an average of $10 a day,” she said.

The budget announced $30-billion over five years in new funding for child care and a pledge to provide annual child-care transfer funding worth $8.3-billion beyond the initial five years. The plan for subsidized care is inspired by a model in Quebec, where parents can access spaces at a cost of $8.35 per day. Ms. Freeland declined to comment on how she expects the talks to go with each province, but said some discussion has already taken place.

“The arrangement with each province and territory is going to depend on the bilateral negotiation and it will vary from province and territory,” Ms. Freeland said when asked how much each province is expected to contribute.

The budget said the goal is for the program’s cost to be split evenly between Ottawa and the provinces.

Meanwhile, reaction from the provinces was mixed, with some welcoming the announcement, and others concerned about a standardized approach.

Alberta Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz said she looks forward to negotiating with the federal government to ensure there’s “flexibility” for Alberta child care operators and parents.

“We’ve often said that we’re not really interested in a one size fits all, more institutionalized approach, to child care across the country,” she said. Ms. Schulz said Alberta has a mixed system of non-profit and private centres and fewer than one in seven parents are using licensed child-care centres currently.

Story continues below advertisement

Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said the province needs long-term financial support that is flexible, “not a one-size fits all approach.”

“We are prepared to work with all levels of government on providing families with safe, affordable, and flexible child-care options to ensure parents can access child care in their communities that meets their needs.”

Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin called the proposal the “highlight” of the budget, saying he believes it is very substantial.

Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard said he is pleased to see the leadership of his province recognized, and that he is expecting it to receive funding without conditions. He said he understands that Quebec was the inspiration for the program, and so it will be a transfer without conditions. He said Quebec is expecting to recoup $6-billion over five years.

Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane said although she is grateful for the new funding, she hopes to see spending on creating more child-care centres in the territory, and that she stressed to Ms. Freeland the need to have “flexibility” within the funding.

Linda White, political science professor at the University of Toronto and RBC chair in economic and public policy, said she believes co-operation is possible between the governments.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m fairly optimistic that it would be difficult for provincial premiers to turn down the size of the envelope that they’re proposing,” Prof. White said.

Susan Prentice, sociology professor at the University of Manitoba, said although the promise to create a national child-care program is decades old, she has hope this time will be different.

“My read is that we’re over a tipping point, that there’s been a kind of a paradigm shift in Canadian political thinking, and that the case for child care has been made, heard and answered,” she said.

While many advocacy groups applauded the proposal, faith-based think tank Cardus criticized the plan, with senior fellow Andrea Mrozek, calling it “inequitable” because it only funds one type of child care.

“I just don’t view this as feminism understood properly, it should allow women more choices and I don’t see that this is happening in this particular move,” she said.

Ms. Mrozek said her organization has advocated for enhancing the Canada Child Benefit, and it would also like to see the federal government create a refundable credit for child-care expenses, extended and improved access to parental leave and flexibility to allow provinces to decide how to use the funding.

Story continues below advertisement

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies