The Saskatchewan government has taken a first step in its commitment to increase the number of regulated child care spaces in the province.
On Monday, the government said in a release that 601 new spaces have been allocated in 20 communities across Saskatchewan. The province is aiming to add 28,000 new regulated child care spaces over the next five years.
“We know that access to child care can be more difficult in some communities,” said Education Minister Dustin Duncan in the release.
“By providing child care spaces, regardless of where people live, our government is ensuring Saskatchewan families can have access to affordable, high quality early learning and child care should they choose to use these services.”
This is a wonderful opportunity to provide inclusive and high-quality early learning and child care to children in both urban are rural communities, said Georgia Lavallee, executive director of the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Association.
“Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child states all children have the right to education – and we know education starts at birth,” said Lavelle. “Along with the need for early learning and child care spaces in our province, we also need a strong, well-educated workforce of Early Childhood Educators to support these spaces.”
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The spaces are being allocated in Borden, Central Butte, Edenwold, Foam Lake, Hepburn, Humboldt, Kindersley, Kyle, Lucky Lake, Middle Lake, Mossbank, North Battleford, Odessa, Prince Albert, Raymore, Regina, Rosetown, Saskatoon, Stockholm and Viscount.
The government said it is prioritizing the allocation of new child care spaces in communities where there is both an intense need for child care and an increased level of vulnerability.
Officials said they are also ready to work with organizations that are ready to move forward with centre development, and will provide start-up grants and enhanced space development funding to support the creation of child care spaces.
Funding for the spaces announced Monday is being provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement.