To support child-care needs as society reopens, parliamentarians across the aisle on Wednesday endorsed the NDP call on the government to set aside more funding to provinces and territories. During a special House of Commons summer sitting, Heather McPherson, Edmonton MP, put forward the unanimous consent motion, requesting a transfer increase by a further $2 billion to go to ensure a safe return to these facilities.
Heather asked the House to recognize “that reopening businesses and the economy entails taking far more action to support parents, especially women who are worried about going back to work without knowing that their kids will be safely cared for in child care and school.”
At the end of July, Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development released $625 million for child care in provinces and territories as part of the $19-billion Safe Restart Agreement. This came when there were calls from parents and child-care activists for Ottawa to better support families transitioning back to work.
The ministry’s press release read, “This investment is in addition to the $1.2 billion over three years was distributed to the provinces and territories, starting in 2017-18, to support early learning and child care and create up to 40,000 more affordable child care spaces.”
At that time, opposition parties maintained that it was inadequate to cover the additional costs of personal protective equipment, staffing requirements, and spacing adjustments. Also, Jessica Eritou, a spokesperson from Hussen’s office, stated that the government understands the immense pressure that COVID-19 has put on Canadian families, and particularly parents. She added that they are dedicated to being there for parents throughout this crisis to make sure that they can take care of themselves, their children, and their families.
To “lay the groundwork for a pan-Canadian child care system,” Jessica stated that her team was working with provinces and territories in establishing a national secretariat. Amid the pandemic, the government has been asked by NDP to invest more into stabilizing the child-care sector and, in the end, establish a universal child-care system. Liberals are yet to be compelled even as the adopted motion calls on them to allocate more money. Jagmeet Singh, the NDP Leader, is insisting that the federal government should act on the undisputed request.