Federal Ministers announce funding expansion of childcare during stop in Regina

President of the Treasury Board Anita Anand speaks to ECE students at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Regina branch. (Photo: Tanner Wallace-Scribner / 620 CKRM)

A pair of federal ministers were in Regina to announce a series of announcements of child care.

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson and President of the Treasury Board Anita Anand announced that the federal government will expand the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program to reduce the costs associated with entering early childhood education.

“We are stepping up to reduce the costs associated with entering the occupation by proposing to introduce legislative amendments to ensure that it is easier to afford to have an education in purposing your ECE,” Anand said.

The program will include early childhood educators (ECE) starting in 2024-2025. The government will also offer student loan forgiveness to rural and remote ECEs and another $10 million over two years to bolster their ranks with extra training.

“The total amount of the loan forgiveness will increase the longer the individual remains in the profession and the longer the individual remains in a rural and remote area, ” she continued. “We need to make sure that the resources are being spread across this country, including in rural and remote areas.”

Anand knows first-hand the importance that early childhood educators play for Canadians.

“As a former professor and a mother of four, I know the role that a good educator can play in helping the next generation get the brightest start in life,” she said. “Many times, when my children were little, we relied on ECE educators to ensure that my husband and I could both get to work.”

The ministers also announced that the federal government will invest $1 billion in loans and $60 million in non-repayable contributions to non-profit childcare providers to construct and renovate childcare centres.

The money will be directly accessed by non-profit and public childcare providers through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to expand their spaces or for projects such as new centres built alongside public housing.

An additional $60 million will be set aside for non-repayable grants to eligible childcare centres to build new spaces or renovate.

The announcements extend the government’s $10-a-day childcare program, which was agreed to by all provinces and territories.

With files from The Canadian Press

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