North

New child care agreement with feds cuts fees for some N.W.T. parents in half

On Thursday morning, the federal and territorial governments announced fee reductions of 50 per cent, on average, for child care for children under five.

Families could save thousands of dollars per child by end of 2022, says federal government

R.J. Simpson, the N.W.T.'s minister of Education, Culture and Employment, says money from an agreement with the federal government will go to child care providers to help cut costs. (Mario De Ciccio Radio-Canada/CBC)

Parents who have young children in licensed child care programs may see their daycare costs cut in half, thanks to an agreement between the N.W.T. and federal governments.

On Thursday morning, the two governments announced fee reductions of 50 per cent on average for child care for children under five. Those reductions are retroactive to the start of 2022, and come thanks to a $51-million agreement the territory signed with the federal government in December.

Karina Gould, the federal minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said families could save up to $4,950 per child this year.

"Access to high-quality, flexible and inclusive child care is not a luxury — it's a necessity," she said during an announcement over Zoom. 

"Without access to child care, parents cannot work."

R.J. Simpson, the N.W.T.'s minister of Education, Culture and Employment, said the money will go to child care providers, not directly to parents.

"However, because the reductions are retroactive, we will work with the child care providers to flow that money to the parents," he said.

Simpson said the costs for child care vary across the territory — some providers have higher operating costs, for example, while others might pay their workers more and thus charge higher fees.

"We looked at all the fees that are charged and we took the average cost," he said.

The agreement is part of an effort by the federal government to implement $10-a-day child care country-wide.

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