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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters before heading into a meeting of the Liberal caucus, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on March 8.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Parents in Newfoundland and Labrador are now benefiting from $10-a-day child care, three years ahead of a national target to have the system in place across the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Wednesday alongside Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, following up on a 2021 agreement to support an average cost of $10 a day for child care in the province.

“We took too long as a country to bring in affordable, high-quality child care across this country,” Trudeau told reporters at Discovery Daycare in Clarenville, N.L. “Quebec did it about 25 years ago, and we saw directly what a huge impact it made.”

The federal government says nearly half of Canada’s provinces and territories are now providing child care at an average of $10 a day, while in other jurisdictions, the fees have been cut on average by 50 per cent, with a goal of hitting the $10-a-day target by 2026.

Trudeau’s trip to central Newfoundland comes as parents in the province are grappling with a shortage of daycare spots for their children. The issue was front and centre in the provincial legislature Tuesday afternoon, with members of the opposing Progressive Conservatives demanding answers from Furey.

The Liberal premier acknowledged Wednesday that demand was outstripping supply. He promised to raise wages for some early childhood educators to a minimum of $25 an hour beginning in April, and he said his government was working with two local colleges to increase the number of spaces in early childhood education training programs.

“We’re tackling the affordability piece and we did that ahead of schedule, but now we need to scale that. And that is going to take some time,” Furey said.

Trudeau is in Atlantic Canada to make several funding and policy announcements ahead of the federal budget, which will be unveiled on March 28.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told The Canadian Press that he wants to see Ottawa extend the six-month boost to the GST rebate, introduced last fall, which temporarily doubled the amount people received.

Trudeau would not say Wednesday if that will happen.

“I very much look forward to presenting that budget, but everyone’s gonna have to wait a few more weeks,” he said.

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