Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith for raising the important issue of child care in Canada in this House.
Family is the most important thing in life. We want our children to be happy and to have everything they need for a good start in life.
Children are Canada's future. We need to do everything we can to help them reach their full potential.
Sadly, only one in four children in Canada has access to quality child care. For many families, the lack of affordable, high-quality child care leads to tough choices.
Some parents are forced to sacrifice their career because they cannot afford child care. Others work multiple jobs to make ends meet.
No one should have to make tough choices like these. Child care should be inclusive.
What are we doing about this? Our government recognizes that high quality child care in the early years of a child's life is crucial to social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Last year, in budget 2016, our government invested $500 million in early learning and child care, including $100 million in early learning and child care for indigenous children. That is only the beginning.
This year, in budget 2017, we are also proposing to invest another $7 billion over 10 years to support flexible, affordable, high-quality child care and create spaces across the country. We will get there.
On June 12, federal, provincial, and territorial governments agreed on the creation of a multilateral early learning and child care framework. This framework sets out a long-term vision to ensure that all children can experience an enriching environment of quality learning and early child care.
Since then, three other provinces have entered into bilateral agreements, and in the coming weeks and months, we will continue to work with our provincial and territorial partners.
A total of $1.2 billion will be allocated to address each jurisdiction's unique early learning and child care needs.
Together, we are going to develop action plans, monitor progress, and ensure that low- and middle-income families have improved access to child care.
What is more, we are in the process of developing a framework for early learning and child care with our indigenous partners, a framework that will reflect the unique cultural needs of first nations, Inuit, and Métis children across Canada.
We are working closely with the provinces and territories, stakeholders, and experts to improve data collection and the dissemination of key early learning and child care information.
We are investing $95 million to close data gaps in order to better understand what child care looks like in Canada and track progress.
We are also investing $100 million for innovation practices on early learning and child care so that we can find new ways of helping our children reach their full potential.
Together we will give every child in this country what they deserve: an equal opportunity to succeed.