Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith for raising, in the House, the important question of child care in Canada, particularly the high costs in certain regions.
Studies show that the affordability and quality of day care available for young children has an impact on the participation of parents in the labour force and on the development of children. I am sure that my colleague is perfectly aware of the efforts our government is making and will continue to make to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. I would like to remind her of some of those measures.
First of all, let us settle the issue of the Canada child benefit. On December 12, 2016, in her question for the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, my colleague claimed that the Canada child benefit will lose its value by 2021. She also said that the government was breaking its promises and letting our children fall through the cracks. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In response to her question, the minister pointed out that the new Canada child benefit would help lift half a million Canadians out of poverty. He also reminded her of our recent announcement that the benefit would be indexed starting in 2020-21. The purpose of that is to guarantee that the real value of benefits paid to Canadians will not be eroded over the long term by the rate of inflation.
As far as early learning and child care is concerned, the minister also said that over the next few months we will be launching a new framework for early learning and child care to answer questions on the affordability and quality of child care services. In budget 2017, we are proposing to invest $7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018-19, to support and create better quality, flexible, fully inclusive, and affordable child care spaces across the country.
Part of that investment will be used to improve access to early learning and child care spaces that are culturally appropriate for indigenous children, whether they live on or off reserve. Over the next three years, these investments could increase the number of affordable child care spaces for low- and modest-income families by supporting the creation of as many as 40,000 subsidized spaces. They could also make the return to work more affordable for parents by allowing thousands of parents to rejoin the workforce once the cost of child care is reduced.
Part of this $95-million investment will be used to address data gaps in order to better understand what is involved in early childhood education in Canada and monitor progress. What is more, $100 million will be allocated to innovation in early learning and child care.
These investments build on the initial investment of $500 million announced in budget 2016 for early learning and child care to deliver on this framework. That includes $100 million to enhance indigenous early learning and child care. We have already entered into discussions with the provinces and territories regarding the development of the framework.
We will also consult with our indigenous partners in order to develop a separate framework for indigenous early learning and child care that will reflect the unique cultures and needs of the children and families of first nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across Canada.
The government will work in co-operation with provinces, territories, and indigenous partners to provide help to families most in need. It is important to note that once they are in place, the framework will offer all the necessary flexibility to support Canadian families to have access to affordable, high-quality and truly inclusive child care, regardless of where they live in Canada.