Trudeau promises $1B loans to expand child care centres

Trudeau promises B loans to expand child care centres

The federal government’s pre-budget charm offensive is back for a second straight day — this time aimed at parents and child care providers.

Trudeau promises B loans to expand child care centres

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday in Surrey, B.C., that the government plans to provide more than $1 billion in low-cost loans, grants and student loan forgiveness to expand child care across Canada.

Trudeau said the funding is part of the Liberal government’s effort to win back support among younger voters and middle-class families.

“This is a brand new program that we are building because as a government, we decided and we knew that access to affordable, high-quality child care was important right across the country, not just so kids can get the best start in life, not just because it contributes to our economic growth, but because families, particularly moms, shouldn’t have to choose between a career and raising a family.”

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The prime minister said the money will be loaned directly to non-profit and public child-care providers through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to expand their spaces or for projects such as new centres built alongside public housing.

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An additional $60 million will be set aside for non-repayable grants for eligible child-care centres to build new spaces or renovate, he said.

The government will also offer student loan forgiveness to rural and remote early childhood educators and another $10 million over two years to bolster their ranks with extra training.

The funding for more affordable child-care spaces is an extension of the government’s $10-a-day child-care program agreed to by all provinces and territories.

Trudeau acknowledged during the announcement that not all provincial government’s are moving “as fast or as responsibly as they should” on the $10-dollar-a-day program.

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“We’re going to continue to work constructively with all provinces but recognize that because the federal Conservatives are consistently standing against child care, conservative premiers are in some cases slow walking and in some cases not delivering to the right level, because they’re listening to their federal brethren.”

Click to play video: '$10 a day childcare changing lives, but unattainable for many says report'

$10 a day childcare changing lives, but unattainable for many says report

Daycare operators in some provinces have threatened to pull out of the national system, saying the federal-provincial agreements limit fees they can charge and don’t cover their costs.

Child care groups in Alberta and Ontario have said the burden of offering low-cost care is being shifted to the operators.

Trudeau said his government will be holding those provinces to account after they accepted the funding.

“But this billion dollars in investment in child care is going to make a huge difference in the number of spaces right across the country,” he said.

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On Wednesday, Trudeau kicked off the pre-budget tour by detailing a $15-million fund and a bill of rights to better protect tenants who rent their homes.

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