Liberals set to dive deeply into child care in April 19 federal budget

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are set to dive into child care in next week’s budget, with stakeholders being told to expect strings attached to federal cash for provinces who want the money.

Sources with knowledge of the government’s plans say the Liberals want to spend enough to prove their political seriousness on child care, and try to persuade provinces to take up the money.

The sources, who spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity because the budget is not yet public, say the Liberals are expected to tie the funding to specific outcomes, such as reducing fees and expanding the number of spaces.

Still, they say they expect the government to provide some flexibility to provinces in how they deliver programs to meet their unique needs.

There is also talk about putting the new child-care spending into law to prevent it from being easily watered down or cancelled by a new government, much like the Liberals did with the national housing strategy.

The Liberals proposed in last fall’s economic update to keep child-care money flowing, starting with $870 million a year in 2028, as a signal of more long-term funding to come in the April 19 budget.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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