National Childcare Plan Needed: Freeland

Ottawa says the COVID-19 pandemic and its damaging impact on women has underlined the need for a national childcare plan, which would also help the economic recovery.

Since taking up her job in August, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has repeatedly spoken about a "feminist agenda," and has said childcare will be part of a stimulus package worth up to $100 billion over three years. She will unveil details in next Monday's federal budget.

"I really believe COVID-19 has created a window of political opportunity and maybe an epiphany … on the importance of early learning and childcare," Freeland told a online convention of the federal Liberal Party.

The budget is set to be a springboard for an election that Liberal insiders say is likely in the second half of the year.

Canadian governments of various stripes have mused about a national childcare program for decades but never acted, thanks in part to the cost and also the need to negotiate with the 10 provinces, which deliver many social programs.