The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan have taken another step in significantly reducing the cost of regulated childcare fees for children under six in the province.
The reduction in cost is part of $1.09 billion being invested through the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement to make regulated childcare more affordable for Saskatchewan families by 2026.
Gerry Craswell, Assistant Deputy Minister with the Ministry of Education, elaborated on the agreement.
“In August, the province signed an agreement with the federal government for $1.1 billion for five years to enhance our childcare system in the province and one of the targets is affordability,” he said. “And so, the ultimate goal is to have childcare for ten dollars a day.”
Last month, a second round of reimbursements was provided to families to counteract costs from the period of November 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022. Facilities were able to reduce their fees beginning on February 1.
The second installment comes after the first round of reimbursements was paid in late 2021.
“Our first target was to reduce the fees on average by 50% and so we collected the data and went back to July 1,” he said. “First, we wanted to try to get money back in family's hands as quickly as possible and so we did a first round.”
Craswell added that it is critical for parents across the province to be able to afford childcare.
“For a working family right now with young children, and we're talking about children under the age of 6 who are in childcare, it's an expensive component of their budget,” he said. “And the goal is to make life affordable for families in Saskatchewan and reducing childcare fees is one.
“It allows families to not have to make that decision about going back to work because of high childcare fees. So, with little childcare fees we think people will be able to return to work earlier and life will be more affordable for the whole family.”