Freeland calls on Nunavut to sign $10 child care deal during fiscal update

Nunavut, Ontario and N.W.T. are the only jurisdictions without agreements

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland addressed child care, reconciliation and inflation in her fiscal update speech on Tuesday. (Screenshot from ParlVu)

By Jeff Pelletier

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland used her fiscal update speech on Tuesday to call on Nunavut to join nine other provinces and one territory to sign a $10-a-day child care agreement with the Canadian government.

Nunavut remains one of the last three territorial and provincial holdouts in signing an agreement, along with Ontario and the Northwest Territories. Coincidentally, Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok met with Freeland’s boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa earlier in the day.

“Within five years, Canadians will proudly rely on $10-a-day child care just as our universal publicly accessible health care system has come to define us as a society,” Freeland said in a speech she delivered virtually instead of in the House of Commons. “So, let’s give this effort a final push and conclude agreements with Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.”

Freeland, who is also the Liberal government’s finance minister, tackled several other issues including reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, inflation and the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Freeland presented the speech remotely “out of an abundance of caution,” after two of her staffers tested positive for COVID-19, she announced earlier in the day on Twitter.

On reconciliation, Freeland promised $20 billion in compensation to Indigenous people harmed by the child welfare system. A case on the matter is currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Freeland promised an additional $20 billion to go towards improving the system.

“We know that paying our historic debt to Indigenous Peoples is paramount, and that we must act to ensure these injustices do not happen again,” she said.

On inflation, Freeland referred to the Bank of Canada’s two-per-cent target and said she’s optimistic that the current rate of inflation will “not become entrenched.”

“Our government has every confidence the bank will continue to deliver on this essential mandate,” she said. “Canadians should be wholly confident in their central bank, too.”

Freeland also promised legislation to extend the northern residents deduction, which would allow Canadians living or traveling up to the North to “claim up to $1,200 in eligible travel expenses on their taxes starting next month.”

Freeland concluded her speech by describing her government’s ambitions beyond addressing the pandemic. “Our plan is working, and once we finish the fight against COVID-19, we will turn our resolve towards fighting climate change, advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and building an economy that is stronger, fairer, more competitive, and more prosperous.”

The speech drew criticism from the other party leaders. Opposition leader Erin O’Toole said the speech lacked a plan for Canada’s economic recovery. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said the speech failed “to do the right thing for families having a hard time making ends meet.”

Nunavut MP Lori Idlout, who serves as the NDP’s critic for Indigenous and northern affairs, said she would be closely tracking the government’s reconciliation promises.

“For years New Democrats have called on the Liberal government to stop fighting First Nations children and families in court, and today’s news about a $40 billion commitment to ending ongoing discrimination and compensating children and families is one that we will be watching closely over the days and weeks to come,” Idlout said in a news release.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by tuktuborel on

    $10 per day Daycare would be great. Problem in Nunavut is we have few Daycares and maybe even fewer places to have any new daycare. Feds please provide funding so we can build new facilities in all communities.

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    • Posted by MJ on

      They know childcare is broken in Nunavut due to lack of availability. They don’t want to fix it, because they know it would cost tremendously more than offering this $10/day care funding and only having to actually pay that out to a tiny number of citizens (those that have managed to get their child into daycare). It would let them appear to be helping, and would look good from a PR angle, but wouldn’t actually solve the deeper problem. In the meantime they’re trying to make NU look petty for being a holdout on the deal.

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  2. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    The real problems I would suggest are the lack of infrastructure, lack of trained staff and the poor attendance records of the existing staff. I quit counting the number of times that we have brought our grandson to daycare to find out they don’t have enough staff (no shows). Resulting in the mother not being able to go to work herself. I see the problems, but, admittedly don’t know the answers in this case,

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  3. Posted by Mother seeking Childcare on

    This is great news for parents & guardians who have children in daycare. However, we are in dire need of more childcare facilities in Nunavut. The waiting lists are awfully long. In fact, I sent a follow up e-mail last week to one of the daycares here in Rankin and was advised there are 30+ children on the waiting list. We need more daycares!

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  4. Posted by delbert on

    NTI should be helping to build child care facilities it’s not always up to the feds to provide funding. If NTI wants to stat talks with the federal government on self government. Start by proving that Inuit organizations can get things done on their own.

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  5. Posted by PPE on

    I’m on the board of our child’s daycare and agree with the problem as stated above by Mr. Murphy; issues around staff attendance are our biggest challenge by quite a margin.

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  6. Posted by Gn should take over daycares on

    The GN should take over daycares. The hamlets failed. Some hamlets don’t even have facilities, and those that do, the staff are too lazy to show up half the time. At least the GN would be able to bring up trained staff who are willing to put in the hours. Once day cares can be properly staffed, parents will have better work attendance too.

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    • Posted by What colour is the sky you see? on

      Is the GN really any better? Would the GN ensure trained people ran things? Where is that happening anywhere else in the GN universe?

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  7. Posted by Fact checker on

    Federal stimulation is a quick and dirty way to increase GDP, but the cost of living will increase. I foresee the cost of Daycares going up another $10 per month. You can afford it now.. right?

    • Posted by That’s Not How It Works. That’s Not How Any Of This Works on

      Your lack of knowledge is showing. This isn’t a $10/day subsidy, this is a program to make daycare COST $10/day for the parent(s).

  8. Posted by John K on

    We wouldn’t need federal help if NTI actually did anything with our money. All our revenue should go to the GN and not some gormless corporation.

  9. Posted by Will I Am on

    Our MP is supportive of Inuit self government.

    These people are our leaders.

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  10. Posted by Urban Mom on

    There was/is some Early Childcare funds with your regional Inuit Associations.
    Namely in the Baffin, Kakivak Association, in the Kivalliq, Kivalliq Inuit Association and in the Kitikmeot, Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

    I know in the Kivalliq region, we accessed some federal funding and renovated two run down daycares (Chesterfield Inlet and Naujaat) and built a brand new one in Arviat. What I am wondering is if the budgets are the same or much lower now?

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