Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced the 2017 Federal Budget in the House of Commons on March 22, 2017. We at DaycareIQ have combed through the budget to bring you the essential updates that affect you as a childcare provider, or parent of a child!
The biggest change for childcare funding came in a promise of $7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018-19. Provinces will be free to use the funds as they wish. Provinces like Quebec will use the funding to continue to subsidize their daily capped rates. Other provinces will likely use the money to help open new spaces, or continue to subsidize space in existing facilities.
The Finance Minister expects that this funding will support an additional 40,000 new subsidized childcare spaces.
The government will also use this funding to support the development of a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care. Additionally, an Indigenous framework will be created to help support early childcare in Indigenous communities.
Budget 2017 proposes spending $3.4 billion over 5 years on social infrastructure, included in this category is early learning and childcare space. It is not clear if this is included in the above $7 billion in funding.
Maternity/Parental Leave Changes
Previously, women were able to access maternity leave benefits up to 8 weeks prior to their due date. Budget 2017 allows women to access these benefits 4 weeks earlier, up to 12 weeks prior to their due date.
The largest change to parental leave is the expansion of the program from 12 months to 18 months. Parents will be able to choose between 12 months at 55% of their salary (to a certain maximum) or 18 months of parental leave at 33% of their salary (to a certain maximum). If you are a childcare provider, consider how these changes will affect your operation. More parents may opt to stay home until 18 months, therefore the number of children needed care between 12 and 18 months will decrease.
Repairing Existing Facilities
Budget 2017 has identified 209 childcare centres operated by Indigenous partners in need of urgent repair. These repairs will be funded and completed in 2017.
Investment Tax Credit for Child Care Spaces
Budget 2017 removes the 25% Investment Tax Credit for Child Care Space. According to the budget, it was not widely used.
Somewhat related to childcare, fertility treatments in Canada will now be clarified and expanded to include people who seek fertility treatments not related to a medical infertility problem. For example, same sex partners that incur expenses in order to conceive a child will be eligible to claim the expense. According to a CBC article this change will be made retroactive for 10 years, meaning people that have used fertility treatment in the past 10 years will be able to refile.
If you want to learn more, check out the full budget here or the summary information here. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us - we’ll be happy to help!