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Trudeau Promises Low-Cost Loans to Expand Child Care Spaces

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will set aside C$1 billion ($738 million) to provide low-cost loans for expanding and renovating child care spaces.

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It’s the latest in a series of pre-budget announcements largely aimed at voters aged 40 and under, as Trudeau attempts to address cost-of-living concerns and turn around his sagging poll numbers.

Trudeau’s government launched a national child care program in 2021, pledging C$30 billion over five years, but it’s been criticized by some providers and provincial governments for insufficient funding and long waitlists.

“Not enough families have access to affordable child care spaces – so we’re building more,” Trudeau’s office said in a news release.

It said the upcoming budget, set for April 16, will include a new child care expansion loan program with C$1 billion in low-cost loans and C$60 million in non-repayable grants. The goal is for providers “to build new spaces and renovate their existing child care centers.”

The budget will also provide student loan forgiveness for child care workers who work in rural areas, and an additional C$10 million over two years to train more workers in the sector.

The release said every province and territory in Canada is on track to lower average child care fees to C$10 per day. Before the national plan, daily fees could top C$90 per day in large Canadian cities.

Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland are expected to make pre-budget announcements nearly every day ahead of the budget, with housing a major focus. On Thursday, they revealed a package of measures meant to give renters more rights.

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