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British Columbia signs up to Canada PM Trudeau's C$10-a-day daycare plan

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By Reuters
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By Julie Gordon

OTTAWA – British Columbia on Thursday became the first Canadian province to sign on to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national childcare plan, in a deal that could bolster the ruling Liberals in a key province ahead of a likely federal election this year.

Canada will invest C$3.2 billion ($2.56 billion) over five years under the plan, which will create tens of thousands of new daycare places and ensure all regulated spots in the province eventually cost just C$10 a day.

“When we talk about a feminist revival after this pandemic, that is what we are talking about: Concrete actions that will give everyone a chance to succeed,” Trudeau told reporters.

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in April laid out a plan to invest up to C$30 billion over five years to set up a long-promised national childcare program and help more women get back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, which would cut childcare costs in half in the first year and then down to C$10-a-day within five years, requires provinces and territories to sign on, with the two levels of government splitting the cost.

“For people with young kids, this is huge … This is real change you can count on,” Trudeau said on Thursday.

Trudeau has publicly talked down election speculation, but sources say he is aiming for a snap vote in September to capitalize on Canada’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Columbia will pay C$2.5 billion over three years under the deal. The province has already invested C$2 billion to advance its own childcare initiative.

($1 = 1.2518 Canadian dollars)