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Governments of Canada and Northwest Territories announce early learning and child care three-year action plan

by ahnationtalk on March 1, 202434 Views

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

March 1, 2024

The governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories announced today a three-year action plan to improve and expand licensed early learning and child care (ELCC) programming across the territory. The 2023 to 2026 action plan covers investments outlined in the Canada-Northwest Territories Canada-wide ELCC Agreement – 2021 to 2026 and the Canada-Northwest Territories ELCC Agreement – 2021 to 2025. The action plan sets a road map for strengthening and expanding the ELCC sector and improving access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive ELCC opportunities for families throughout the territory. It builds on progress achieved to date during the first two years of both agreements.

Through this action plan, Canada’s investments support five key areas:


  • Over $25 million toward achieving an average of $10-a-day for child care fees. This investment has made licensed ELCC programming more affordable for all families, regardless of their income or location in the territory. The Government of the Northwest Territories had already reduced out-of-pocket child care fees by an average of 60% as of April 1, 2023, and will reach an average of $10-a-day per child by April 1, 2024, for all licensed ELCC spaces.


  • $770,000 toward preserving and expanding licensed spaces. This investment includes health and safety funding to support repairs and maintenance required during the licensing and inspection process, and start-up funding to purchase supplies, material, and other costs incurred when setting up a new licensed program.


  • In addition to territorial investments, $135,000 dedicated to developing a renewed approach to inclusion. This investment aims to ensure all children experience safe and nurturing environments, including Indigenous children and children needing enhanced or individual supports to fully participate in early learning.


  • More than $30 million toward initiatives that support the ELCC workforce. This investment will focus on providing professional learning and development, funding post-secondary institutions to offer ELCC education programs, and providing scholarships to part- and full-time post-secondary students enrolled in early childhood development programs. This investment will also help develop a wage grid, with an implementation target date in 2024–2025.

Administration and reporting

  • Almost $5 million toward building targeted capacity and additional resources within the Government of the Northwest Territories to support licensed ELCC space creation, enhance access, and improve reporting capacity.

Building a Canada-wide ELCC system that works for families in every region of the country is a key part of the Government of Canada’s plan to make life more affordable for families, while also creating employment opportunities and growing the economy.


“Our government remains committed to ensuring that every child in Northwest Territories has access to affordable, inclusive and quality child care. Our partnership with the government of Northwest Territories is working. Together we are reducing fees to $10 a day for families and creating more spaces. The plan announced today will ensure we reach these targets. Our government will continue to work with our provincial and territorial counterparts to make life easier and more affordable for Canadians.”

– The Honourable Jenna Sudds, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“I am pleased to move forward with this three-year action plan to improve and expand licensed early learning and child care programming across the Northwest Territories. I look forward to the continued collaboration with Canada and community-based partners including Indigenous governments, as we work together to make child care more accessible, inclusive and high-quality, and to support and retain early childhood educators. While progress has been made, change takes time, and this three-year action plan outlines the important work ahead of us.”

– The Honourable Caitlin Cleveland, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment for the Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • As part of Budget 2021, the Government of Canada made a transformative investment of more than $27 billion over five years to build a Canada-wide ELCC system with provinces and territories. Combined with other investments, including in Indigenous ELCC, up to $30 billion over five years will be provided in support of ELCC.
  • The Government of the Northwest Territories is receiving approximately $51 million over the duration of the five-year Canada-wide ELCC Agreement (2021 to 2026) and approximately $13 million over the duration of the four-year ELCC Agreement (2021 to 2025), which included almost $2.6 million through a one-time investment in 2021–2022 to support the early childhood workforce.
  • Over half of Canada’s provinces and territories are delivering regulated ELCC for an average of $10-a-day, or less, which will include the Northwest Territories as of April 1, 2024. The remainder have reduced fees by 50% or more compared to 2019 levels. The goal is that all families in Canada will have access to regulated ELCC for an average cost of $10-a-day by March 2026.
  • As part of the Canada-wide ELCC system, the Government of Canada aims to create approximately 250,000 new child care spaces across the country by March 2026 to give families affordable child care options, no matter where they live. This includes creating 300 new child care spaces in the Northwest Territories

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Soraya Lemur
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Government of Canada

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on X (Twitter)

Briony Grabke
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
Government of the Northwest Territories
867-767-9352, ext. 71073


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