Thank you so much for that important question. We were already working to support the creation of some 40,000 child care spaces in the country. Minister Hussen and I have a joint mandate, from the Prime Minister, to develop an early learning and child care secretariat. That work is under way.
Ninety-seven per cent of early learning and child care workers are women. The wages that they're paid, and the way the different provinces and territories treat early learning and child care affect them.
I've been working with the Canadian Teachers' Federation very closely for the past few months—and a shout-out to Cassie Hallett. They're having their AGM this week. These women, these teachers were expected to look after their own kids while coming up with online modules for children across the country. They've endured incredible hardships, and we thank them for stepping up.
We are working very closely with provinces and territories. Minister Freeland and the Prime Minister have had weekly meetings, first ministers meetings with provinces and territories, with the premiers. Of the many initiatives that we are working together on to ensure a safe restart to our economy, child care is one of them. It has to be one of them.
This sector was hard hit before COVID. The sector needed support before that. COVID has changed their entire business model. We owe it to them, to our children and to our economy to get it right. Those negotiations are ongoing, and more needs to be done.
I do look forward to one of the other good things coming out of COVID, being a stronger, more whole system of early learning and child care.