The federal government announced Nunavut will be the first jurisdiction to be getting $10-a-day childcare for families in the territory by December 1. Bringing the planned Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement early to Nunavummiut.
Originally the federal government planned to support $10-a-day child care by March 2024, however with the Government of Nunavut’s assistance they pushed it forward to this December.
The federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould made the announcement at the Iglulik High School.
“It’s pretty exciting news for families and children in Nunavut,”said Gould.
“For some families this could be savings of up to $14,000 a year. That’s $14,000 that could go a long way to paying for the high cost of food, warm clothes.”
“They need to have access to childcare so that they can work, provide for their families. It’s a really significant help to the family economy,” Gould added.
Many families in the area are already feeling the negative impacts of ongoing inflation.
“People have been going hunting more often because of the food prices, the gas is not cheap too,” said Amittuq MLA Joelie Kaernerk. “Inflation has a big influence, $10-a-day will be very good for this community,” he added.
Nunavut’s education minister Pamela Gross also said this will help parents in the territory significantly.
“The support from this funding will really help parents, they’ll see the cost-savings immediately,” said Gross.
“It will mean more opportunities for Nunavummiut to enter the workforce or go back to school, to support their families and put more food on the table.”
More support for childcare will also help students in their future education, according to the principal of Ataguttaaluk Elementary School Don Macaskill.
“It helps students prepare in a more formal setting for school, kindergarten, grade one and up,” said Macaskill.
“When you can introduce students at the young age of three, four to a routine or a program I think it benefits them years down the road in their education.”
Iglulik has three daycares, including one which recently opened up at the high school. It also experienced one of the highest population jumps in the 2022 census from 2016, 17.5 per cent, or 305 people.
“The Department worked to get the daycare up and running in the high school. It was a special highlight of the trip to see the ELCC students and to visit the daycare,” said Gross.
The ELCC plan for Nunavut will be to create 238 new licensed not-for-profit spaces by March 2026 to increase the availability of spaces for families in Canada’s youngest jurisdiction.
“I think it’s important to show, when we’re talking about childcare, it’s not just in the big cities, it’s really everywhere across the territory,” said Gould.
“We have both the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care initiative but we also have the Indigenous Early Learning and Childcare initiative. What we see in Nunavut is those two pieces working together,” she added.