Montreal

Ottawa announces $6B transfer to Quebec aimed at strengthening child care

The federal government is transferring about $6 billion to Quebec over five years in connection with Ottawa's national child-care program, but the money comes without conditions and Quebec's government can spend it how it pleases.

Trudeau says money will help Quebec create 'tens of thousands of new child care spaces'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Quebec Premier Francois Legault, left, speak during a childcare funding announcement in Montreal, Thursday, August 5, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The federal government is transferring about $6 billion to Quebec over five years in connection with Ottawa's national child-care program, but the money comes without conditions and Quebec's government can spend it how it pleases.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Thursday alongside Premier François Legault in Montreal, who said a significant portion of the $6 billion will go toward "completing'' the province's child-care network.

Legault told reporters the money is "without conditions,'' adding that the province already spends $2.7 billion a year on its child-care system, which he said costs parents, on average, $8.50 a day per child.

"What that means is that Quebec will receive financing to continue developing its network,'' Legault said. "We also have a deal that says after the year 2026, (Ottawa) will continue to help finance (the network).''

Trudeau has been travelling the country in recent weeks, announcing hundreds of millions of dollars in agreements with provinces to create a national child-care system.

The prime minister said Thursday his government's national plan was inspired by Quebec's child-care network, and the deal "will allow you to create tens of thousands of new child care spaces, in addition to reducing fees.''

Deal a 'beautiful victory,' Legault says

Canada has already signed child-care deals with British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador — ahead of what reports say could be an end-of-summer federal election campaign.

Trudeau said the various agreements with provinces outside Quebec will allow them to create $10-dollar-a-day child care places in a few years and raise wages for educators.

Quebec's public daycare program was introduced in 1997 by the Parti Québécois. (Carl Boivin/Radio-Canada)

Legault called the deal his government signed with Ottawa "asymmetric,'' meaning that while the federal government imposed certain conditions on the money it gave to other provinces for child care, Quebec has no such conditions.

The premier said his government estimates another 37,000 child-care spaces are needed in the province, adding that the wages of educators in the network also need to be increased.

But the premier wouldn't specify how much of the money announced Thursday will go to child care.

Legault said the agreement "respects the jurisdiction of Quebec,'' adding that it's a "beautiful victory for Quebec families.''

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now