Canada’s Liberal government this week signed a C$13.2 billion ($10.5 billion) deal with Ontario, which was the last province to sign onto Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s $10-a-day national childcare program, according to Reuters.
The move comes a year after the government had earmarked C$30 billion over 5 years for the program. The goal is to reduce childcare costs to $10 a day for families and create 86,000 new daycare spaces by the end of 2026.
As he announced the deal, Trudeau emphasized how this would affect the middle class. “Accessible, high-quality childcare is key to building a stronger future, a more resilient economy and growing the middle class,” he said.
His finance minister Chrystia Freeland, the first woman to enter the role, added that women’s participation in the labor force had fallen to dismal numbers.
“Covid has brutally exposed something women have long known: without childcare, parents — usually mothers — can’t work,” she said, according to Reuters.
Parents in Ontario currently pay about C$230 a week for childcare, while families in the U.S. pay roughly $340 per week for daycare.
The Prosperity Project, a charity started by 62 female leaders across Canada in May 2020, released a statement applauding Trudeau’s plan — which prominent women in the United States have also fought for in order to alleviate the invisible labor and economic disparities that burden moms, but to no change.
“This means working mothers in particular who have struggled through the COVID-19 years will be supported to fully participate in Canada’s economic recovery,” said Kathleen Taylor, Chair of the Board of the Royal Bank of Canada and co-chair of The Prosperity Project Childcare and Early Childhood Education Advisory Group.