Just over 1,200 new childcare spaces in Saskatchewan is welcome news for the executive director of a licensed centre in Swift Current.
Natural Wonders Early Learning Centre will open 77 new spaces in the early fall of 2022, said Sheila Paradis.
“It is encouraging to see the allocation of funding from the bilateral agreement open spaces in rural Saskatchewan which will shorten wait times allowing all families in our community access to high-quality, inclusive, regulated early learning,” Paradis said in a statement.
“Providing holistic environments for children which are based on best practice with career-minded, well-educated, and fairly compensated educators is a priority in our early learning and child care programs.”
The Saskatchewan and federal governments announced the addition of 1,202 new licensed not-for-profit childcare spaces in 21 communities on Wednesday.
The province said the spaces will be integrated into either new or existing facilities.
The new spaces are on top of the 601 new spaces announced in December and are part of the goal to add 28,000 new childcare spaces in the province by the end of March 2026.
“Every child deserves the best start in life,” said Karina Gould, Canada’s minister of families, children and social development.
“These additional childcare spaces will help grow our Canada-wide early learning and childcare system, allowing more children and families from Saskatchewan to access high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and childcare.”
The Saskatchewan and Canadian governments signed an agreement in August 2021 for the federal government to invest nearly $1.1 billion over five years for childcare in the province.
The goal is to bring down the average fees for regulated spaces to $10 a day.
“Our government supports parents who are seeking childcare services,” said Education Minister Dustin Duncan.
“This increased investment will allow more opportunities for families to find accessible childcare near them.”
Communities benefitting from Wednesday’s announcement are: Asquith, Bethune, Bredenbury, Grayson, Gull Lake, Hague, Humboldt, Kindersley, Lloydminster, Martensville, Milestone, Moose Jaw, Montmartre, Pilot Butte, Outlook, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Warman and Zenon Park.