CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
First, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.
I am so glad to be here with my friend, James Maloney, the local MP, and I am also really, really glad to be here at the YWCA with my friends here. Nothing gives me more pleasure than visiting Canada’s incredible early learning and child care centres.
As we begin a new school year, I’d like to take a moment to thank all the child care workers and educators across Canada who work so hard to give our kids the best possible start in life.
When we first announced our plan to build a Canada-wide system of affordable early learning and child care in our 2021 budget, a lot of people said it was a great idea.
But it was also met with a lot of skepticism.
It was justifiable, because Canadians politicians had been making promises for nearly five decades to establish a national system of early learning and child care.
That is why it is so important for me to be here with the amazing team at the YWCA and to see the results of our child care program.
The commitment I was so proud to make in our 2021 budget is no longer just a promise. We are delivering.
Fees here in Ontario have been reduced by an average of 50 per cent—saving families up to $8,500 this year—per child.
And Ontario is on track to reach fees of just $10-a-day by 2025.
I cannot overstate how important affordable early learning and child care is to our economy—and to our country.
This is feminist social policy in action, and it is also smart economic policy.
Studies show that every dollar invested in early childhood education generates between $1.50 and nearly $3.00 in activity for the broader economy.
Nearly 950,000 more Canadians are employed today than before the pandemic.
And that includes a record 85.7 per cent labour force participation rate in July for Canadian women in their prime working years—supported by our early learning and child care system. This record level of 85.7 per cent compares to just 77.5 per cent in the U.S.
At a time when labour shortages are constraining industrialized economies around the world—and at a time when labour shortages are also contributing to inflation around the world—affordable early learning and child care is adding to Canada’s labour force, helping our economy to grow, and making life more affordable for families here in the GTA.
As we continue to deliver our Canada-wide system of early learning and child care, it is so important to visit places like this one—so we can learn about what more we can do to support our wonderful educators, and parents and families like those here in Etobicoke.
So to everyone here at the YWCA, I want to say: thank you all very, very much.
Before I close, as Finance Minister, I’d like to comment briefly on the Bank of Canada’s announcement this morning.
The Bank of Canada’s decision to maintain its overnight interest rate is a welcome relief for Canadians.
As Finance Minister, I fully respect the independence of the Bank of Canada as it delivers on its mandate to return inflation to target, which will support a return to the steady growth and stable prices which were the hallmarks of the pre-COVID Canadian economy.
The Bank has a hard job to do and our government respects the Bank’s independent role. We also understand that an independent central bank is a cornerstone of Canada’s broader institutional stability and economic and fiscal policy credibility.
The strength of our governing institutions underpins Canada’s triple-A rating and helps to make Canada such an attractive destination for foreign investment. As the Bank continues its important work, my number one priority is to use all the tools at my disposal, and to work with partners at other levels of government across Canada, to ensure that interest rates can come down as soon as possible.
Thank you very much.