Advance universal child care by increasing availability and affordability

Improving the availability of early learning and child care programs that meets the specific needs of communities will help ensure children get the best possible start in life. 

This work will be led by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment.

What we will do

1. Increase availability and reduce the costs of childcare in communities

2. Provide support for NWT students to pursue post-secondary programs that produce qualified childcare educators

3. Work with partners to support communities to tailor early learning and child care programs to meet community needs

How we will do it

1.a. Develop a 2030 Early Learning and Childcare Strategy, in consultation with stakeholders, that considers both the availability of children spaces in communities and a reduction of childcare costs to families

1.b. Implement a program that provides non-government organizations with funding for facility repairs, to address code issues, and to undertake retrofits to support new childcare spaces.

1.c. Amend our income assistance and housing programs to allow for delivery of licensed childcare programs

1.d. Better utilize GNWT infrastructure for early childhood program space

2.a. Evaluate the Early Childhood Scholarships and Early Childhood Staff Grant to ensure it is providing adequate incentives to residents to enroll in early childhood programs.  Review the Student Financial Assistance benefit levels to ensure residents have adequate funding to assist with the costs associated in obtaining a post-secondary education

3.a. Review and amend existing policies and funding models of early childhood programs.  The review will identify barriers that impede the establishment or expansion of early learning and childcare programs

3.b. Provide recommendations to the development of the 2030 Early Learning and Childcare Strategy

How we will demonstrate progress

1.a. 2030 Early Learning and Childcare Strategy developed for tabling (Fall 2021)

1.b. Program implemented (Spring 2021); and Each year an average of 25 new spaces added and an average of 3 centres renovated (Fall 2021 – Fall 2023)

1.c. Policy changes completed (Fall 2020); and Each year, an average of 20 licensed childcare spaces added (Fall 2021 – Fall 2023)

1.d. Childcare spaces considered in renovations and/or new builds (starting Spring 2021)

2.a. Number of qualified childcare educators increased by 5% per year (Spring 2023)

3.a.Review completed (Spring 2021)

3.b. Recommendations considered in 2030 Early Learning and Childcare Strategy (Spring 2021)