Today the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) announced that child care fees for NWT families with children from birth to five years of age in licensed child care will be reduced, on average, by 50 per cent. The reduction will be effective January 1, 2022. This reduction in child care costs is one of the benefits of the Canada-Northwest Territories Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement signed by the two governments in December 2021.
The funding provided through the federal agreement will support implementation of the GNWT’s newly developed 2030 Early Learning and Child Care Strategy: A Commitment and Vision for Action. The strategy shares the long-term vision for the development of a Canada-wide quality early learning and child care system as set out in the Government of Canada’s Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework, and provides the GNWT with renewed priorities to support high quality, affordable, accessible and inclusive early learning and child care in the NWT.
Based on input gathered from meetings with Indigenous governments, engagement sessions with stakeholders, and recommendations from a review of early learning and child care funding programs, the GNWT has identified the following commitments for the next 10 years:
- improving affordability of early learning and child care;
- supporting the creation and sustainability of licensed programs;
- enhancing inclusion and participation; and,
- fostering a qualified early childhood workforce.
The specific steps and timelines to achieving these commitments are outlined in the Canada – Northwest Territories Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement – 2021 to 2026 and the NWT’s Canada-wide 2021-2022 to 2022-2023 Action Plan.
The Government of Canada is making a transformative investment to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system in partnership with provincial and territorial governments and with Indigenous partners. The goal is to bring fees for regulated early learning and child care down to an average of $10 per day across Canada by March 2026.
Highlights of the NWT’s Canada-wide 2021-2022 to 2022-2023 Action Plan include:
- Reducing average child care fees for children five years of age and younger who attend licensed child care by 50 per cent in 2022 and further reducing to an average of $10 per day across the territory by 2025-2026.
- Funding to support the recruitment and retention of early childhood educators, acknowledging that quality and expansion of services requires educators that are better compensated through increased wages and access to increased professional learning and post-secondary education opportunities.
- Creating 300 licensed early learning and child care spaces by 2025-2026 to improve access for NWT families.
- Supporting culturally appropriate programs grounded in Indigenous worldviews to meet the needs of Indigenous communities to ensure Indigenous children and families have access to affordable, high quality early learning and child care.
- Supporting participation in inclusive early learning and child care programs by providing funding for licensed programs that support children with diverse needs, such as those who are vulnerable and/or who have specific developmental needs.
“A high-quality early learning and child care system provides children with the foundations that influence their wellbeing, learning, and development for the rest of their lives. Moving towards a robust, mature, and sustainable system does not happen overnight. The vision and actions outlined in this Strategy and Action Plan will help the GNWT to continue to collaborate across the territory to create an early learning and child care system that meets the needs of children and families in the NWT.”
- Honourable R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
“The Government of Canada’s goal is to ensure that by the end of March 2026, all families in Canada, no matter where they live, will have access to licensed early learning and child care for an average of $10 a day. The reduction of fees announced today in the Northwest Territories is a meaningful step toward achieving that goal and will make a real difference for families across the territory. We will continue to work with the Northwest Territories to help ensure that children have access to the high quality, affordable, and inclusive early learning and child care they need to succeed.”
- Honourable Karina Gould, Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
- The Canada–Northwest Territories Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement signed in December 2021 provides funding of over $51 million over five years. Combined with the existing 2021-2022 to 2024-2025 Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement, this is expected to provide a total of $64 million to support access to high-quality, affordable, accessible, and inclusive licensed early learning and child care for families with children five years of age and younger.
- Federal funding enhances the existing investment from the GNWT into the ELCC system. The GNWT provides approximately $10 million per year towards the NWT’s ELCC system. Total estimated investment into the ELCC system through GNWT funding and federal agreements is expected to reach $114 million between 2021-2022 to 2025-2026. This is separate from funding for Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten (JK/K) programming.
- NWT Canada-wide 2021-2022 to 2022-2023 Action Plan: Highlights
- 2030 Early Learning and Child Care Strategy
- NWT’s Canada-wide 2021-2022 to 2022-2023 Action Plan
- Canada-Northwest Territories Canada-wide Early Learning and Childcare Agreement
- Early Learning and Child Care What We Heard Report 2021
- Early Learning and Child Care Funding Programs Review 2021
- $10-a-day child care for families in the Northwest Territories
For media requests, please contact:
Government of the Northwest Territories
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould