Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
It’s a pleasure to join you and all the committee members and to stand before you again today to speak to the 2020-21 supplementary estimates (B) for Employment and Social Development Canada.
As I already spoke to the issues in the estimates during my appearance last month, I would like to focus on other important updates for the committee.
Since my last appearance before the committee, our government has taken major steps towards a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system.
In last week’s fall economic statement, our government took a major step in laying the foundation and the groundwork for a Canada-wide early learning and child care system. First we announced a significant investment of $420 million for provinces and territories to support the retention, attraction and training of early childhood educators.
We are also investing $20 million over the next five years in the creation of an ELCC secretariat to build capacity and work with stakeholders to build this very new Canada-wide system.
Budget 2021 will lay out the plan to provide affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality child care from coast to coast to coast. This is something that's very important to parents. This will also include enhanced support for before- and after-school care for older children, in order to provide all parents with the flexibility needed to balance work and family.
The fall economic tatement offers great news for families related to the Canada child benefit.
We recognize that the challenges facing parents through the COVID-19 pandemic have been very significant and that bills continue to pile up. That is why we made a commitment to increase the Canada child benefit next year by nearly 20% for middle- and low-income families with children under the age of six.
Households making less than $120,000 per year will receive an additional $1,200 per child, spread out over four payments in 2021. For those making over $120,000 and who receive the CCB, they will receive half this amount. This will help 1.6 million families keep up with the increasing costs of raising children during these challenging times.
Allow me at this time to talk about our work towards ensuring that every Canadian has a safe and affordable home.
Our government strongly believes that all Canadians should have a safe and affordable place to call home. As communities across the country continue to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, we know that having a safe and affordable place to live is more important than ever before.
In light of that, the rapid housing initiative is the newest program under the national housing strategy that aims to address the urgent housing needs of at-risk Canadians. This program will quickly create some 3,000 new, permanent affordable housing units for Canadians who are experiencing homelessness or living in temporary situations, including in shelters, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds will be split between two envelopes. The major cities stream will have $500 million going to the 15 municipalities that have the highest concentrations in numbers of Canadians experiencing homelessness. The projects stream will have another $500 million envelope going to other municipal governments, provinces, indigenous governing bodies, organizations and not-profit organizations.
We will be in a position to provide more details concerning funding to these cities in the coming days. In fact, this morning, I had the pleasure of making the first announcement for funds to the City of Ottawa related to the rapid housing initiative.
In addition to the initiatives I just mentioned, we've also announced funding of more than $400 million for communities under Reaching Home. This is Canada's anti-homelessness strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, we've just announced, through the fall economic update, an additional $299.4 million for Reaching Home for the year 2021-22. These funds will enable communities to extend and expand their emergency response and it will provide them with the flexibility to deliver more permanent housing solutions. It will also help prevent at-risk Canadians from becoming homeless in the first place by supporting targeted interventions to enable people to stay housed.
The Government of Canada will continue its work to support all Canadians, especially those who are most vulnerable, as we build a more resilient country that is safer, fairer and more inclusive for everyone.
I will be pleased to answer your questions.
Thank you very much.